Preview: Big East Conference Enters Second Season
Preview: Big East Conference 2016-2017
‘Big East’ enters year 2…
So, here is the preview for the upcoming season.
Starters Returning: 10 Sectional Qualifiers Returning: 5 State Qualifiers Returning: 1
Standouts returning A Brockman qualified at 106 last year.
Key Losses: Gonwa, I Brockman, and Gjertson.
Incoming/Overlooked: The Rockets won a lot on overall depth last year – which bodes well for them having another solid season. Guys like Morgan, Prinsen, Davies, and TeStroete could all take big steps forward. They also have Wade and Anzia who were waiting in the wings last year but will be solid guys. As I said, CG’s depth is impressive.
Odds/Ends: After going 6-1 in Big East duals last year, the Rockets didn’t finish as well as they would have liked in February. Many times that becomes a motivator for kids and something that spurs them on the following year; especially at the end of the season.
Elkhart Lake/Howards Grove
Starters Returning: 11 Sectional Qualifiers: 4 State Qualifiers: 1
Standouts returning Ward is a junior who is a two time state qualifier.
Key Losses: Trent Rebedew
Incoming/Overlooked: HWT Roll had a remarkable year last year, pinning both the eventual conference champ from Random and an eventual state placewinner from Reedsville in duals! Also poised for a big year is Troy Rebedew. As a sophomore at a tough weight class, he acquitted himself very well, and will be a year stronger and tougher. Watch out for Perko as well. A senior in the lighter half of the lineup should always garner some respect, and if he gets a full year in this year, he could be dangerous.
Odds/Ends: Elkhart is coming off probably their best dual season in more than 15 years. They knocked off both Oostburg and Reedsville, and they wrestled a very good conference tournament in their home gym as well.
Odds/Ends: The word is that this co-op may send some kids to regionals, but they will be looking for sub-varsity opportunities other than that as they look to build up numbers. They are not on the Big East schedule this year.
Starters Returning: 8 Sectional Qualifiers: 4 State Qualifiers: 2
Standouts returning Becker and Young were the state qualifiers as sophomores last year. If I have the right families, both had older brothers who were very successful, so these two young men certainly have seen what it takes to get to that next level.
Key Losses: Elliott
Incoming/Overlooked: Tesarik at 160 is a solid kid – 160 in the D3 Southeast sectional was a very even weight last year with more depth than that sectional has at most weights.
Odds/Ends: Year 2 for Coach Enderby. The two lightweight state qualifiers was a nice cap to the season last year.
Starters Returning: 9 Sectional Qualifiers: 2 State Qualifiers: 0
Standouts returning Frier was a Big East champ at 145 last year.
Key Losses: Meyer has been a productive upperweight for 3+ seasons.
Incoming/Overlooked: Lomardi was a match away from state last year – which I think caught some people off guard. Both he and Josiah had some impressive stretches last year, and they were in adjacent weight classes. It always helps when your practice partner can push you every night.
Odds/Ends: The 0 state qualifiers is an abberation for this program. As was mentioned last year, Steve Rogers and Ron DenBoer are both gone, but I’d be surprised if they don’t pop a few individuals down to Madison this year. There has certainly been a shift in the balance of power in the conference, though, as the Dutchmen will have to do a lot to make up ground on CG, EL/HG, Reeds, and RL.
Starters Returning: 4 Sectional Qualifiers: 0 State Qualifiers: 0
Key Losses: Kraus and Hughes
Incoming/Overlooked: Burmesch did not have a great February run, but he is a tough wrestler.
Odds/Ends: It would be great to see an infusion of numbers at Ozaukee. Right now, the guys they bring back are solid, but there simply aren’t enough of them. Even the spread of the returners is concerning. Wagner was 106 last year, they return a 132 and a 138, and then nobody until Penny at 195. Without more numbers it’s hard for individuals to get the most improvement out of a season.
Starters Returning: 13 Sectional qualifiers: 12 State qualifiers: 8
Standouts returning Depies, H Vandenbush, Brouillette, and H Huiras all placed at state last year.
Key Losses: Hiller was a Big East champ in 2016 and a state qualifier in 2015.
Incoming/Overlooked: None of the returning state qualifiers will be overlooked, but I’d say their middleweights might be. G Vandenbush, was 1 match from qualifying for state last year, while C Huiras and Mudlaff were both sectional qualifiers.
Odds/Ends: In an unlikely quirk, the Rams have had their last 4 seasons end at Team State at the hands of the eventual State Champion. A lot will depend on how their weights play out, but they’ve certainly got the bodies to make quite a run this year.
Starters Returning: 11 Sectional Qualifiers: 7 State Qualifiers: 2
Standouts returning Roffers was a state finalist last year, and Capetillo had to be the February surprise of the conference, taking 5th at HWT
Key Losses: NONE!
Incoming/Overlooked: Stelzer (145) was hurt mid-year and did not compete after that. He will be a force as a sophomore. Griffey bounced around between 195 and 182 last year, going 1-1 against RL’s 195 pound state finalist. He ended at 195 and took 3rd at regionals. Look for a big bounce back from him this year.
Odds/Ends: Numbers is most of what stopped Reedsville from a better dual record last year. They have solid returning wrestlers in all parts of their lineup, and the lowest it seems they could possibly finish is 3/4th. The upside for them is tremendous.
Overall Thoughts: Random Lake looks like the team to beat in conference. Cedar Grove, Reedsville, and Elkhart Lake/HG will all have to worry about each other as well as trying to knock off Random Lake. Both Reedsville and Random Lake are fairly good bets to win a Regional Championship, which would set up a first-round dual at Team Sectionals between those two programs. Overall the conference returns 14 State qualifiers – 6 of them placewinners, 4 of those being finalists!
-John Hatfield, Random Lake
Photo: Hayley V, Random Lake