New season, new opponent, new conference, same Wrightstown Tigers Wrestling.
The Tigers dominated in their season opener, posting a 77-0 decision against the basically overmatched Marinette Marines. Wrightstown benefited from six forfeits, but also earned five pins and three victories by points in the North Eastern Conference win.
“That was a good match to start with in the North Eastern Conference. Our kids got some mat time and were able to work on some stuff on our feet,” said co-head coach Matt Verbeten. “We found a couple things we could work on. Marinette was good enough to put their kids out there and wrestle us, and gave us their best effort.”
Even with the high number of forfeits, there were still eight matches that were decided on the mat, and the Tigers showed there domination. Garrett Kussow got the ball rolling at 113 pounds, with an 11-5 decision victory over Sam McClain. The next three matches all went the same way, victories for the Tigers. Derick Bader was particularly impressive, earning a 17-1 technical fall victory at 120 pounds over Brooke Koerner.
Two of the three returning state qualifiers also earned victories, with Ben Klister (152) turning his opponent Sean Holk and pinning his shoulders to the mat at 1:35. Following suit at 160 pounds, Joshua Verbeten pinned Draven Taylor Brissette at 3:35. The other returning state qualifier, Stetson Burmeister, received a forfeit at 182 pounds.
Coach Verbeten was happy with the victory, enjoying the fact that some of the younger wrestlers (such as Kussow, a freshman, and sophomores Bader and Preston Kussow, a 10-1 winner at 126 pounds) were able to get some valuable mat time to prepare them for the very tough schedule that Wrightstown wrestles.
“The one freshman (Garrett Kussow) got a good match and Preston and Derick got good matches,” Verbeten said. “That had to wrestle some six minutes matches, which is something they are not use to. It’s good to get your lungs burnt that first time out.”
One the Tigers stronger wrestlers, Bryce Herlache, was noticeably absent for the line-up for this dual meet. Herlache, also a member of the Tigers’ very successful football team, has an injured shoulder that is keeping him on the sidelines to start the season.
“We will found out next week as to how long he will be out,” Verbeten said of Herlache. “He will be getting an MRI next Thursday, so we will found out more then.”
Wrightstown travels to Little Chute for the annual Little Chute Invitational on December 5th. Wrestling starts at 9:00 am. There will also be a ceremony to rename the tournament the Sgt. Nick Mueller Memorial Tournament.