Written by Mitch Maersch
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 17:23
With only 14 wrestlers, Ozaukee needs leadership from returning standouts
Numbers will not be on the side of the Ozaukee High School wrestling team this season, but that doesn’t mean the Warriors will be hurting for talent.
With only 14 wrestlers on his roster, coach Luke Gundrum will try to make the most of a small lineup led by several proven veterans.
“I obviously wish we had some more numbers here, but the kids we’ve got are about as good as I could have hoped for,” said Gundrum, who oversees the Ozaukee program with Jerry Hoffmann.
“They’re smart, intelligent kids. They catch on quick, and they’re fun to work with.”
Leading the Warriors is senior Pat Leonard, who qualified for the WIAA Division 3 state meet last season at 140 pounds. He finished with a 32-13 record as a junior and has a chance to do even better this season, according to Gundrum.
“Last year, Pat turned things around pretty good at the end of the season,” Gundrum said. “He made a great run to qualify.”
Leonard will start this season in the 145-pound weight class.
Ozaukee has two other wrestlers — juniors Brady Watry and Vince Cardarelle — who narrowly missed advancing to state last year after having strong sectional finishes.
Watry will start the season at 130 pounds. Cardarelle will wrestle at 152 or 160.
“Vince was actually a takedown away from being a state qualifier last year,” Gundrum said.
Other seniors Gundrum is counting on for leadership include Scott Watry (152) and Matt Stockwell (140).
Although his team lacks depth, Gundrum foresees good things in the future.
“We’ve got some good freshmen at the lighter weights to help us out,” he said. “We’ve got a decent size freshman class and a good eighth-grade class.”
Gundrum said he expects Random Lake to again be the class of the Central Lakeshore Conference, with Oostburg also challenging for the title.
He wants his team to be in the fight for second place.
“We’d like to get as close as we can to Oostburg, but we’ll probably finish third,” he said.
“We’ve been third for a while. It’s been hard to get past Oostburg and Random the last few years.”
The Warriors will open the season Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Early Bird Invitational in Watertown. Matches start at 10 a.m.