Memo to the other wrestling teams in the Olympian Conference: Wrightstown is coming for its title.
Riding seven pins and four forfeits, the Tigers wrestling team posted a dominate 69-7 victory over the Brillion Lions in the conference opening dual meet for both schools.
From top to bottom, the Tigers came out with on a mission to prove a point to the rest of the conference and that point is this: last year was an aberration, and the Tigers are and will continue to be one of the elite teams in the Olympian Conference.
“We wanted to start out on the right foot,” said Wrightstown co-head coach Matt Verbeten. “Sometimes it is hard to come back after a tough loss (a 31-30 squeaker to Random Lake on Tuesday) but our kids were in the practice room working hard yesterday and we said we wanted to send a message right away.”
The message started at the very beginning of the match, as sophomore Josh Verbeten wasted little time, pinning Jordon Roth in just :33 seconds. As a matter of fact, the Tigers earned pins in three of the first four matches of the night, (the other being a forfeit at 152) with freshman Ben Klister getting the fall over Eduardo Cavallazzi at 145, and Brandon Buechler pinning Alex Behnke at 160. Mitchell Murphy (180), Gage Sellers (285), and Brady Maes (126) also recorded falls for the Tigers (1-1 overall, 1-0 Olympian Conference.
Another Tiger that had a great match to earn a fall was Michael Bannach. Bannach, a national champion at 100 pounds over the summer, earned his pin over Devin Thoreson at 120 pounds. While he is now 2-0 on the young season, he knows that there is always room for improvement.
“I feel I have been pretty good on my feet, pretty dominate there,” the senior said. “I have to work on top and turning guys the right and keep moving to not get stalling calls. On bottom I have been pretty good.”
Bannach also understand the importance of getting off to a strong start in the conference, especially after coming up short for the conference title last season.
“Coming out strong like this really sets the tone for us,” he said. “It shows that we are here to prove a point, and that point is to win the conference.”
Verbeten was proud of his wrestlers.
“Some of them weren’t real happy with the way they wrestled Tuesday night,” the co-head coach said. “So they came out to show what they really had tonight. Michael (Bannach) and Josh (Verbeten) came out to show what they can do.”
The tigers travel to Little Chute on December 7th for the first major tournament of the year, the Mustang Invitational. Matches start at 8 am, and the finals are scheduled for 4pm.