2010-2011 Wrestling Preview: "On the Attack"
Athletics - posted on 10/26/2010
The Lakeland College wrestling team is no stranger to setting high expectations and exceeding them. This season, the program expects nothing less than a top 10 NCAA Division III ranking and a 3.00 team grade point average.
"Train, work, win," is the philosophy of first-year head coach Mike DeRoehn. "We are working hard to make our expectations a reality."
DeRoehn inherits a team that won its third straight Northern Wrestling Association Tournament, winning eight of 10 weight classes, finished sixth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and placed 26th at the NCAA Division III Tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The team finished with a 7-9 dual record and produced its second All-American, heavyweight Adam Sutter.
Lakeland looks to build of that tradition with a mix of five returning NCAA Tournament wrestlers and a solid group of freshman.
"We have great leadership," said DeRoehn. "Ryan Renon, Rob Frias, Rob Forgette and Chris Weber are doing a really nice job leading our team. Renon and Frias have really stepped up and have taken on the role of team captains, and the guys have been following their lead."
The Muskies will also depend on Frias, a junior from Oak Lawn, Ill., and Renon, a sophomore from De Pere, Wis., to lead the way for Lakeland's attack. Frias and Renon both received d3wrestle.com preseason honorable mention accolades at 133 and 174, respectively. Frias is a two-time returning NWA Conference Champion. Renon posted an impressive freshman season, finishing fourth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and posting a 32-12 mark, setting the school record for wins in one season by a freshman.
Other key returnees are senior Isaac Roberson (Chicago, Ill.), junior Rob Forgette (Menominee, Mich.) and sophomore Chris Weber (Mishicot, Wis.). Roberson won his first NWA Conference Championship last season at 149, and is a two-time NCAA Great Lakes Regional place winner.
Forgette competed in the NCAA Great Lakes regional and has the right attitude and work ethic to be a place winner this season. Weber finished third at the NWA Conference Championship, was sixth in the NCAA regional and posted a 20-win season.
Lakeland's roster is deep and several wrestlers are competing for starting positions. Competing at 125 is freshman Grant Franson (Lindenhurst, Ill.), an Illinois state tournament qualifier, who DeRoehn believes is at the top of the pack. Also contending at 125 is freshman Mike McDonald (Sheboygan, Wis.).
Freshman transfer James Parker (Milwaukee, Wis.) will compete with Frias at the 133/141 weight classes. Possible contenders are sophomore Ricardo Rosas (Sheboygan, Wis.) and freshman Jacob Bugajski (Chicago, Ill.), a three-time Illinois state tourney qualifier.
The spot at 149 is up for grabs as freshman Max Loberger (Maribel, Wis.), a Wisconsin state place winner, and transfer sophomore Joel Frias (Oak Lawn, Ill.) are competing for the starting position.
Last season, Roberson started at 149, but he'll move up to 157 this year. Competing with Roberson is sophomore transfer Brandon Garcia (Addell, Wis.), a four-time Wisconsin state qualifier and a three-time state finalist.
Renon will wrestle down at 165, after bumping up his weight and wrestling at 174 for the team last year. Contending Renon is junior Nick Kusta (Oak Lawn, Ill.).
Competing at 174 is junior transfer Miguel Luis (Oak Lawn, Ill.) and freshman Bryce Bobula (Genoa City, Wis.).
Weber will continue to hold down 184 and look to improve on his 20-win season.
Forgette will compete at 197 with freshman Zach Wetzel (Campbellsport, Wis.), a two-time Wisconsin state place winner, and sophomore T.J. Kinjerski (Mishicot, Wis.).
Replacing Sutter is no easy task, but senior Bill Wood (Manistique, Mich.) and freshman Tom Phalin (Sheboygan, Wis.) will look to secure the weight class.
Lakeland faces a tough schedule that includes four Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference opponents, including defending WIAC Champion and national runner-up UW-La Crosse on Feb. 11. The Muskies open at home against UW-Eau Claire on Nov. 6 before hosting third-place WIAC finisher UW-Stevens Point on Nov. 17. Lakeland will travel to UW-Oshkosh on Jan. 8 to compete in the UWO Duals.
"The competition in the WIAC is some of the best in the country," said DeRoehn. "They are usually ranked very high in the top 30."
The Muskies will also face tough competition from Luther College, Johnson and Wales University, a perennial national contender, and the University of Dubuque, which finished eighth in the nation last year.
"We are on the attack with our schedule," DeRoehn said. "We seek out a high level of competition because it helps set a tone for us in practice when we know we're facing some of the best programs in the nation."
A highlight for Lakeland will come on Feb. 26 when the Muskies host the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The NCAA Division III Nationals will be held in La Crosse, Wis.
"We are excited for the season to begin," DeRoehn said. "The guys have welcomed my coaching techniques and are working hard. We are loving it."
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