Janesville Craig has 50 wrestlers
Second-year coach Mark Mullen said he’s had a successful effort recruiting new blood for the program.
“We’ve have 50 coming to wrestle,” Mullen said. “It’s the most we’ve ever had in the program.”
The Cougars open the season 9 a.m. Saturday at the Oconomowoc Invitational.
Besides the new faces, Craig has an experienced roster, too.
The Cougars’ biggest loss is Siven Furseth, a 2010 state champion in 2010 and a perennial 40-win contributor, but his brother, Airk, an 84-pound freshman, should make an immediate impact.
“He is 84 pounds of pure muscle,” Mullen said. “He’s aggressive and smart. He’s tougher than a lot of kids and has a lot of experience.’’
Mullen said facing bigger wrestlers is Airk’s biggest challenge.
“He’s tough, but his biggest problem will be wrestling bigger kids who cut from 115 to 106,” Mullen said.
After Airk Furseth, the Cougars expect a strong season in six other weight classes.
Anthony Skrede, a sophomore who won 28 matches last season and finished third at 103 in the Big Eight meet and regionals, moves to 126.
Ryan Ruble, a senior, fills the 120 slot. Ruble was a conference and regional runner up last season at 112. Jacob Wilson, a sophomore, and Chris Kubiak, a senior, hold the 138 slot.
Zach Mulrooney, a 29-match winner at 140 last season, wrestles at 152, while Alex Zimmerman takes the 145-pound slot along with sophomore Kyle LeCaptain.
Nate Mather, a team captain, returns at 170.
“Nate tore his ACL at midseason,” Mullen said. “It was a big loss to us. We expect a lot out of him this season.’’
Craig’s upper weights are filled with experience.
Zack Kurtz, a senior captain, moved up from 182 to take 195. Joe Grassi, a junior, holds down the 220-pound class. Dakota Pearson, a junior who finished fourth in sectionals last season, is at 285.
Craig finished second to Sun Prairie at the Big Eight Conference meet last season and Mullen thinks the Cougars can aim even higher this season.
“We were second at the conference meet last year, and we are looking to improve on that,” Mullen said. “Sun Prairie will still be good and some other schools will be decent.’’
December: 3 Oconomowoc Invitational, 9 a.m. 6—At Clinton. 8—Madison Memorial. 13—At Middleton. 16-17—West Allis Central. 23—At Stoughton Invitational.
January: 6—Verona. 7—Craig Invitational. 13—At Madison West. 14—At South Milwaukee. 21—Beloit, East, La Follette, Sun Prairie, 8 a.m. 26—Janesville Parker. 31—Whitewater.
February: 4—Big Eight Conference meet at West, 10 a.m. 11—WIAA regional at Stoughton. 14—WIAA sectional at Janesville Craig.
Last updated: 7:12 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012