Bethlehem Press

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Karam eager to see how Hawks finish

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

Jeff Karam told his wife he isn’t reading the newspapers anymore. He isn’t even sure what his future at Bethlehem Catholic will be next season. All that matters to Karam is the present situation of taking over the coaching duties of the Golden Hawk wrestling program for the recently fired Rick Thompson.

Karam, who spent the last 10 years as head coach before stepping back this season to watch his sons wrestle in college, is back in the saddle of head coaching duties as of last Thursday when athletic director Chris Domyan asked if he would step back in charge.

After staying on staff this season to help as an assistant, Karam is back in charge a month into the 2018-19 campaign.

“I spoke to the kids last week and made sure they understood what was going on,” said Karam. “I obviously know the kids real well and we’re not going to miss a beat. We’re going to do everything to achieve the goals they have for themselves and the program the rest of the year.”

With Karam back at the helm, the Hawks certainly get an injection of confidence and a sense of stability that the wrestlers will surely respond to.

Karam actually enjoyed working Thompson during the season and wished him the best.

“Rick and I got along well and we never had any issues,” said Karam. “I never wanted this type of situation to occur. It’s unfortunate, but the school made a decision and asked me to be the head coach the rest of the year. I’m excited to see what these guys can do the rest of the year.”

While coming back doesn’t bring much change for Karam, what will be different is not having the Hawks in the finals bout of the EPC Championship Day on Jan. 26. Becahi has won the past seven EPC crowns, but with their loss to Liberty earlier this year, that streak will be snapped.

“Not wrestling for the EPC title will be different,” Karam said. “We have a lot at stake over the next couple of weeks, but I feel good about the nucleus of kids we have here.”

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Liberty (12-2) got its first taste of defeat this season over the weekend at Virginia Duals, losing a 26-26 bout to Nazareth by criteria and then falling to St. Augustine Prep (NJ) in the championship semifinals 29-27.

Head coach Jody Karam was happy to see how his team performed at the national event and took a nod of respect from the event.

“We went 2-2 at the VA Duals and we learned a lot about our team,” said Karam, as his team registered wins over Lafayette (VA) and Camden Catholic (NJ). “We have an even better read on what we need to focus on.”

As far as the loss to Nazareth, Karam feels a new found respect based on the Blue Eagles reaction to beating them.

“It’s kind of flattering that we are included in conversations with the top teams,” he said. “Nazareth made a pretty big deal out of the win on social media over us in Virginia. I was kind of like ‘Wow, they are giving us a lot of respect.’ They have defeated us handily on the Midget and junior high level for many years, so it’s nice to be at competitive with them on the varsity level.”

Freedom (12-3) has kept up in the EPC standings, as they’ve won seven straight heading into this week. The Pates take on Allen and East Stroudsburg South this week in two more bouts that should be easy wins for them.