The guys are stellar this year, said Jay DeCoux 05. They work extremely hard and have reaped the benefits of that. At regionals we had many [wrestlers] who won matches, one champion and some who placed in the top six of 16 teams. Of these, the first-year students fared extremely well.
Indeed they did. Four of the teams 11 first year grapplers placed at this weekends tournament: Ryan Jacobsen, fifth (133 lbs), Skipp Sandberg sixth (174 lbs), Tony Rezac fifth (141 lbs) and Jason Moore 06 first (165 lbs). In fact, with his performance this weekend, Moore qualified for the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Friday in Ada, Ohio.
With five people placing, thats kind of exciting for the future, especially because well only be losing one of them next year, said Kurt Miller 06.
Although this team is quite young, Miller feels that throughout the season, the experienced Senior Alex Morf, who placed fifth at 149 lbs. has set a strong example for the underclassmen to follow. Alex is a strong voice in practice, most of the time hed lead warm-ups His knowledge and skill is well-tuned and Im pretty sure hell be missed next year since we dont have that many upperclassmen on the team, said Miller.
While he feels that Morf has helped the team build its skills, Miller also takes inspiration from the words of the coaching staff, which features head coach Ken Pratt and assistants Pete Sandberg, Mark Mercurio, Shaun Murphy and Nate Miller.
Were told that every time we go onto the mat, no matter if we lose, trying our hardest is what were told to do and what counts in the end, said Miller.
With a message focusing on hard work, and the positive example of athletes such as Morf, those Ole wrestlers with experience are especially optimistic about the coming seasons and their opportunity to help the team build on this years success.
I am excited to have more time working with this new group of wrestlers and since I will be one of the eldest wrestlers next year, it appears as if it will be a time [for me] to step up, said DeCoux.
While DeCoux may be one of the few upperclassmen on the squad next year, the Oles have had a chance to build a bond as a team during this season, something which can endure for a few years because of the youth on the team.
Theres definitely a team culture. We know each other well. With all the time we spend in practice and traveling and competing, we get to know each others wrestling, [and their] personalities well When [the first years] are seniors it will be difficult to choose a captain Ill be excited to see what happens then, said Miller.
Indeed, DeCoux echoes Millers sentiments, and he feels that the Ole wrestlers have a great deal of potential when they get back onto the mat next winter.
We are rising extraordinarily fast from last year and I am optimistic that this trend will continue. The future is looking up and we have a great group of guys with promising futures.