Div. 3 standouts lead way as Ozaukee reloads lineup for wrestling wars
It’s only happened one other time in the history of Ozaukee High School wrestling.
Before this season even starts, the Warriors have three state medalists on their roster.
Seniors Cole Large, Colton Kraus and Kevin Beckmann all earned hardware at the WIAA Division 3 state individual meet last season, and they’re back to lead the way again.
Kraus placed second in Madison at 113 pounds, while Large was fourth at 120 and Beckmann was fifth at 160.
“We’ve got a pretty experienced group. I think they’re going to be OK,” Ozaukee coach Luke Gundrum said.
With depth on their side, the Warriors could fill all weight classes this season, though Gundrum said he may have to move a couple wrestlers up a weight to do it.
Besides their state medalists, Ozaukee has a number of standouts. Holding the inside track to varsity spots are seniors Taz Gottsacker and Jake Dupey; juniors Daniel Watry, Jacob Wagner, Sam Schuette and Mike Burmesch; sophomores Chase Kraus, Colin Hughes, Brad Burmesch, Dillan Smith, Adam Zichitella and Grant Klas; and freshmen Corey Holloway and Chase Brouillette.
Hughes was a sectional qualifier last season at 126 pounds.
So far, Gundrum likes what he’s seen.
“They’re pretty good kids. They work hard. They’re experienced,” he said.
Ozaukee will open the season Saturday, Dec. 7, at a scramble-format tournament in Watertown. Each wrestler is guaranteed five matches in what Gundrum called “a little measuring stick right away.”
“There’s good competition,” he said. “I think it’s a good reality check in the beginning of the year.”
Gundrum said he expects defending champion Random Lake to be the class of the Central Lakeshore Conference again, as the Rams return six state qualifiers.
“They’re going to be tough. They have pretty good balance throughout their lineup,” he said.
Gundrum said Oostburg will also be a CLC title contender, along with Ozaukee.
One change this season is the Warriors’ WIAA regional location. They’re now going through Dodgeland, where Gundrum said he expects Lomira to be a favorite.
The regional winner will have to get through Random Lake at the sectional level to qualify for the state team tournament.
“It gives us an opportunity to win the regional,” Gundrum said.
Ozaukee will have its first dual meet of the season Dec. 12 at Milwaukee Riverside.
Image Information: TWO OF THREE returning state qualifiers for the Ozaukee wrestling team this season are Cole Large (left) and Colton Kraus. Large placed fourth at 120 pounds in the WIAA Division 3 individual finals, and Kraus was second at 113. Photo by Sam Arendt