Tenth consecutive NSC title among many goals for talent-laden wrestling squad
Each year, the Port Washington High School wrestling squad has another tough act to follow: itself.
With nine consecutive North Shore Conference team titles, a two-time state individual champion and numerous other honors on their resumĂ©, the Pirates enter the 2010-11 season with typically high expectations.
And they should be equal to the challenge again.
â€śWe have a lot of young guys, but theyâ€™re very seasoned wrestlers,â€ť said Port coach Angelo LaRosa, whose team has a blend of standout seniors and budding underclassmen.
â€śA lot of them have wrestled throughout the spring and summer, so theyâ€™re more experienced, even as freshmen and sophomores.â€ť
Topping the list is senior Alex Dieringer, the countryâ€™s top-ranked 145-pound wrestler in his age group. Dieringer, who won the Division 1 state title at
140 pounds, has accepted a wrestling scholarship from Oklahoma State University and is a heavy favorite to win his third state crown.
â€śAlex really wants to finish his high school career with another title,â€ť LaRosa said.
The Piratesâ€™ other veteran seniors include Justin Meins (130/135 pounds) Jake Maechtle (135/140), Nate Flack (189/215), Trevor Schumacher (145/152) and Mark Strong (189).
Meins placed fourth at state at 125 pounds last season, and Schumacher qualified for state as a sophomore.
â€śThey both have a lot of incentive to get back there,â€ť LaRosa said.
Bolstering Portâ€™s roster are juniorsÂ Tyler Griswald (215), Bret Winker (171), David Cornell (130), Adam Dreikosen (130) and Andy McGee (125/130) and sophomores Eli Rosado (103), Tyler Madden (130), Nate Schnell (135/140), Josh Meins (160), Ryan Stietz (189) and Tyler Brown (160).
LaRosa is also counting on contributions from freshmen such as Noah Rosado (103), Calvin Harbaugh (112), Brandon Willms (152/160) and Andy Fidler (heavyweight).
Based on numbers and talent, the Pirates are loaded again at the middle weights.
â€śWe have a logjam at some weights, especially 135 and 140,â€ť LaRosa said. â€śBut thatâ€™s good because the competition should bring out the best in our wrestlers.â€ť
LaRosa said Dieringer and many of his other wrestlers will be used at a variety of weights depending on what team Port faces.
â€śWith Alex, weâ€™re going to move him around to take on the other teamsâ€™ top guys,â€ť heÂ said. â€śWhatever is best for our team.â€ť
The versatility, talent and experience on the Piratesâ€™ roster included 10 wrestlers who were members of this yearâ€™s Wisconsin national team.
â€śThis was the best off-season weâ€™ve ever had,â€ť LaRosa said. â€śHaving so many wrestlers working hard to get ready definitely benefits us.
â€śWe feel like we can just pick up from last year.â€ť
Portâ€™s quest for mat supremacy begins this week with three challenging meets. After facing Random Lake in a nonconference test Tuesday, the Pirates will host Germantown in their NSC opener at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, Port will participate in the Spartan Duals at Luxemburg-Casco.
Thursdayâ€™s meet will be a showdown with the conference team that has the best shot at dethroning the Pirates.
â€śGermantown has a very good team. I think it will be tight,â€ť LaRosa said.Â
NATHAN SCHNELL held the upper hand against Tyler Madden as the two worked on moves during a recent Port Washington High School wrestling practice. The sophomores are two of many standouts on a team favored to win its 10th straight North Shore Conference title this season.Â Â Photo by Sam Arendt