Wrestlers takedown Wisconsin Open

Connor Murphy (‘19) retrains his opponent earlier this season.

Photo courtesy of Luther.edu

Photo courtesy of Luther.edu

Connor Murphy (‘19) retrains his opponent earlier this season.

Katrina Meyer, Staff Writer

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Luther College Wrestling competed at the Wisconsin Open at University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, WI on Dec. 3.

The Wisconsin Open was an individual tournament, meaning that no team scores were calculated. Instead wrestlers placed individually in their weight classes. Justin Kreiter (‘17) led the Norse with a second-place finish out of 13 wrestlers at 184 and a 3-1 record for the day. Matthew Chlebek (‘17) and Tristan Zurfluh (‘17) both finished third for the Norse at 197 and 165, respectively. Chlebeck had five victories to one loss during the tournament. Zurfluh won four matches and lost one. Gilbert Valadez (‘19) at 141 and Clayton Jennings (‘17) at 285 placed fourth in their respective weight classes.

Because the Wisconsin Open was an individual tournament, it offered the wrestlers opportunities that they do not normally have at team meets, according to Kreiter.

“It [was] a good opportunity for us to work on some of the areas that we [needed] to improve,” Kreiter said. “We [got] a lot of matches, so that [was] a lot of opportunities to fix what we [needed] to. I [saw] the meet as another opportunity to get better.”

The team is working hard to continue improving. Assistant Coach Drew Van Anrooy (‘16) said that the coaching staff focuses on catering to each wrestler’s specific needs in practice.

“Practices are going well,” Van Anrooy said. “They are getting more focused on an individual basis to help each wrestler with what he needs to suit his specific style. We are just trying to help each guy to become his best individually so that the team can perform to their utmost potential.”

According to Head Wrestling Coach Dave Mitchell the Norse still have room for improvement and he hoped that the Wisconsin Open would give the wrestlers a chance to be more aggressive.

“We really want to focus on our style, no matter who we are wrestling against,” Mitchell said. “We really want to take the action to our opponents. I feel like we haven’t been controlling the matches as much as we need to. We haven’t been controlling the pace; we haven’t been as physical as I would like to see us; we haven’t been as aggressive as I’d like to see us. Hopefully we can get out there and be aggressive, control the pace and force our stuff on our opponents.”

Despite a desire to improve, the team already has a strong base of dedication to start off their season, according to wrestler Samuel Camacho (‘20).

“We have a lot of heart,” Camacho said. “We have a strong mindset and we are getting better with each practice. We’ve got a room full of really talented guys and we’re getting our shots in.”

Looking forward to the rest of their season, the team has important long-term goals, as wrestler Javier Reyes (‘17) explained.

“We just want to keep getting better each day,” Reyes said. “The season leads up to the NCAA championships in March. That’s a long time from now, but it will come quicker than most of us expect it to. We just need to take advantage of every day and get good training in to prepare until then.”

The Norse move on to host the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on Dec. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

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