GVSU club wrestling aims high for 2015
Lakers expect to contend on national level
Last season the Grand Valley State men’s wrestling club finished ninth at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) National Championship.
This year, the Lakers are shooting for No. 1.
The Lakers are looking to improve on their “down year” last season and will not be satisfied with another ninth-place finish.
Some of head coach Rick Bolhuis’ wrestlers came to him and said they are ready to compete for a title this year.
Bolhuis thinks his team can legitimately contend for the title this season, but not without putting in the due work and having pieces fall into place for the Lakers.
“I fully expect and work toward having multiple All-Americans and being very much in contention for a national title,” Bolhuis said.
On Oct. 25, the Lakers had their intrasquad black vs. blue scrimmage, which gave the opportunity for new wrestlers to see their first collegiate action. It also made all the wrestlers cut down to required weight for the first time of the season.
“We try to imitate a match setting,” said senior Joey Montney. “It’s different for practice, and in matches, you really just have to go out and do it.”
The Lakers' first real competition of the season was on Nov. 1, at the Fall Brawl at Henry Ford Community College. The team only sent first and second-year wrestlers to the event, eight in total, as all eight placed and three -- Brendan Hazelton, Jacob Sobek and Trevor Pickett -- won their weights.
“We wanted our younger guys to get their feet wet,” Bolhuis said.
Montney is excited to start wrestling this season and thinks the team will do well together.
“We have a bunch of good kids coming back and a bunch of new guys that are showing a lot of promise, so I’m excited just to see how we do as a team,” he said.
Senior Bruce Rau took notice of the hard work his teammates put in this summer and believes the team can compete for a national title.
“I know that, through the summer, everybody put in a lot of work and everybody is trying to be on the mat as much as possible,” Rau said. “A lot of guys were lifting a lot, since we got back on campus in late August we started team workouts again and several times a week we were lifting, running, conditioning and getting on the mat.
“We always have high expectations for ourselves and that’s no different this year. We are focusing on working hard again, even harder than last year, and just putting in the work and trying to embrace that grind.”
The Lakers will be facing strong competition to start the season. On Nov. 5, the Lakers traveled to Muskegon Community College for the Muskegon Duals, an event which GVSU won.
On Nov. 7, some of the team traveled to MCC again for the Ben McMullen Open, and the other wrestlers went to the Eastern Michigan Open to face some stiff competition. In both meets, GVSU was the only NCWA program to compete.
At the Ben McMullen Open, Matt Roos and Dan Tomasello both earned third-place finishes.
“Almost our entire schedule is against varsity programs," Bolhuis said. "We wrestle against varsity junior colleges and varsity Division III programs."
The Lakers will be at the Trine University Invitational on Nov. 14 and the Michigan State Open at the Jenison Fieldhouse on Nov. 15. The Lakers also have the Olivet Comet Duals on Nov. 21, but then are off until Jan. 21, when they will compete at the NCWA National Duals.