|Red Devil grapplers ready for great season|
|Written by Jim Dabbelt|
|Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00|
With six returning district qualifiers ready to hit the mat this week in their first meet, Tippecanoe wrestling Coach Jordan Krebs is more than ready to get things started.
The talent is there for a long, successful run this season with several of the Red Devils wrestlers, and the veteran Tipp coach knows that it could be a really fun season for his squad.
“Our numbers are up, and the kids are a year older,” Krebs said, who is a 2006 Tippecanoe grad. “We have a solid group of sophomores and juniors ready to go.”
“We will be solid, and should be able to fill a full lineup. Honestly, there is no reason that we can’t be in the top three of every varsity tournament we compete at.”
Leading the way for the Red Devils are two state alternates that look to get on the podium this season. Sophomore Jack Peura at 152 is someone who Krebs feels can be very special this season, while junior Austin Robbins weighs in at 160. Both are good enough to make a solid run at placing at state, according to Krebs.
“Jack is as hard working of a kid that we have,” Krebs said. “He is a smart guy on the mat, and never gets enough mat time.”
“Austin is the leader of this team and I would consider him a “power wrestler”. He is aggressive, and uses his brute strength to his advantage. That’s the goal of those two guys, to get on the podium at the state meet. Honestly, I feel we could get maybe four guys to the state meet this year.”
In addition to Peura and Robbins, there are four more returning wrestlers who all hope to improve on their district trip last season. At 145 is junior Gabe Callicoat hopes to improve on last season’s success.
“He has matured physically, and didn’t have the best district meet,” Krebs said. “But he is another year older, and learned from last year.”
Mitchell Poynter also returns at 132, and after having much success during the cross country season in the fall, Krebs feels he will continue his climb on the mat.
“He is a competitor, and had a great sectional tournament last year, qualifying for districts,” Krebs said. He was a pleasant surprise for us, and win or lose, he will wrestle his match. Mitchell is a very coachable kid.”
Also back at 182 is junior Shane Dodd, a two-time district qualifier.
“He has also matured like Gabe, and has put in the off-season time,” Krebs said. “He is always bending my ear about wrestling, and wants to get to that next level.”
Retuning in January from shoulder surgery will be another district wrestler in 170 pound Brandon Arndts.
“He battled back from injury last year, and was our most improved wrestler,” Krebs said. “With the football kids out, he has been the leader of this team.”
Two other kids returns after being district alternates last season; 126-pound sophomore Jordan Brown and sophomore Logan Ferrell, who will wrestle at heavyweight.
Other wrestlers returning for the Red Devils this season will be sophomore Garon Cruz, junior Kory Florence, junior Billy Martin and sophomore Eric Seeman.
“One of our goals is to win the Kenton Trail Division title this season,” Krebs said, who stated that Tippecanoe has not won a title since the 1980s. “We have more depth, and will be a solid duel and tournament team.”
“Our league is one of the toughest in the area,” he added. One would not have to look far to see why.
Graham returns this season as the 13-time state champion, and a national power. Also, Krebs noted that teams like Kenton Ridge, Tecumseh, Shawnee, Stebbins and Indian Lake will all be very competitive and challenge the Red Devils this season.
“We had 10 guys who were all part of the regional finalist football team, and I believe that winning attitude rolls over,” Krebs said. “Our program has really been consistent, and we are moving in the right direction. The numbers are up at all levels, and we have revamped the program back to where Chuck (Wray) left it.”
Wray, a Hall of Fame wrestling coach and head coach at Tippecanoe several years ago, is on staff again this season, along with Bill Pryor and Tony Smith.
“Chuck is the wiser, more patient voice of reason on the staff,” he said.
The Red Devils open the season at the Butler Super Tri tomorrow, then travel to Troy Christian on Saturday to be part of their Invitational. Later in the season, the Red Devils will host their own event on December 28, an event that the host squad has never won.