Wrestling team enters year with confidence

Drew Hanft, Sports Reporter

Boys-Wrestling

The Michigan City Wolves wrestling team is back in action this winter under third year head coach Erik Ledbetter. The Wolves showed massive improvement last year compared to two years ago. This year the Wolves are looking to continue to make huge strides and hopefully put all the pieces together and compete in the DAC strongly and advance as many wrestlers as they can deep into the postseason.

City returns a number of wrestlers who had their fair share of winning on the mat last season. Sophomore David Taylor III was a sectional champion a year ago when he won the 106 pound weight class. Dee Collins was another wolf who brought home some championships and was able to make a deep tournament run  a year ago, competing in the 132 pound weight class. Collins had a consistent and strong wrestling season and advanced all the way to the semi-state championships before coming up a bit short to advance to state. Collins is back as a senior and ready for one last go on the mats at MCHS.

In addition to Collins, City should have some very good senior leadership on their squad. City lost a few very key and experienced wrestlers to graduation in semi-state advancer Matt Schoof and Terry Jamieson. The Wolves also lost experience in the heavyweight class due to senior Greg Jamieson transferring schools. However, the Wolves are confident in their group of seniors they do have this winter. “We’re expecting big seasons out of seniors like Michael Turner and Chris Taves” said Ledbetter. Both seniors have experience under their belt and bring a competitive edge to the team. Turner brings some toughness to the mat from the football field while Taves is a very strong athlete with a high motor and will look to lead and have success.

However, the Wolves are relying not only on senior leaders, but some newcomers and younger team members as well. “We lost some valuable seniors, but we have some new guys coming in that we think can really help us” said Ledbetter. While many successful teams are led by a core group of seniors, it is always important to have younger guys and underclassmen step up also. City believes they have that core group of seniors who will lead the team, but they also think they can have some young standouts too. “Two guys that really stand out in my mind are junior Chizzell Crawford and freshman Ryan Stefanko. They both show up every day ready to work and willing to learn and I think that bodes well for them. Even early on in the season, things are starting to click for them” said the third year coach.

Now as talented and experienced the Wolves may be, that does not always mean a team is guaranteed to have success. In past seasons, City has had talent but failed to translate the talent into the win column. However, the Wolves feel like they are bound to change that statistic this year. After improving drastically from last season, earning nine wins compared to three the year before, Coach Ledbetter is extremely set on making that number in the win column double digits. “We are hoping to continue to see some improvement as a team this year. This year we are hoping to move into double digits in the win column and win our first annual MCHS Super Dual tournament.”

As the regular season rapidly approaches, City is fine tuning everything up before they begin what hopes to be a very successful and winning season. Coach Ledbetter believes his team can accomplish anything that his wrestlers put their mind to. He also never shys away from setting big goals for his team for the post-season. “We want to have 8 advance to regionals, 4 advance to semi state, and have at least 1 advance to state” said Ledbetter. City is ready to prove to the DAC that they are the real deal this season. The Wolves begin their season November 30 against Lake Central in the Wolves Den.

 

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