Losing six key seniors could be a loss for any team, but with a record of 12-2 Mercyhurst wrestling is holding strong, both on and off the mat.
“We have 11 new freshmen this year, with five starters. They are doing very well, not only athletically but also academically too. They came from good programs and they are competing against good kids as well. They have just been adjusting at a very good pace,” Coach Mike Wehler said.
The Lakers are currently ranked 13th in the nation according to the latest Division II Wrestling Coaches Association poll after moving three spots to No. 3 in the latest Super Region I rankings last week.
“I really don’t think a lot of the rankings. We are a very good team and I am proud of them. It is good validation for the guys for all their hard work,” Wehler said.
“This year is very different for us, last year we had a lot of veterans, but also many injuries as well. I think the expectations are higher. We didn’t finish the year as well as we wanted to because a lot of kids got hurt last year. But this year is different. We have new faces and less pressure,” Wehler said.
Some of the players to look for this year are freshmen Willie Bohince and Dylan D’Urso, sophomore Michael Griffith, juniors Tyler Berger and Clint Schaefer and senior Eric Lundgren.
“Honestly, everyone is doing really well this year; we have such young kids working hard and stepping up to the plate. We’ve just been rallying around trying to get wins, our players get us a lot of bonuses and extras which help us come out with a win,” said Wehler. “All of our matches have been tough, but we find a way to win, we get major pins and bonuses. Even though we lost a match earlier in the season, they weren’t the toughest that we have had. We were able to beat two top ten ranked teams so that was a very big accomplishment.”
With their next match coming up on Wednesday against Gannon, the Lakers have the chance to win the conference and make a name for them selves, more than they already have.
“One thing that most people really don’t know about the team is we have really great students. We had the best GPA in the conference, so the boys are not only trying to work hard on the mat, they also strive to achieve in the class room as well,” Wehler said.
The Lakers next match is Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. at Gannon University.