Fresh off a
runner-up team finish in the IHSAA State Finals, expectations are high again
for the Chesterton wrestling team.
The Trojans return
four State qualifiers and three medal winners as they start the season on
Friday in the two-day Ted DeRousse Invitational in Antioch, IL.
“We have four state
qualifiers and three state place winners coming back,” Chesterton coach
Chris Joll said. “Every year is different. We need to see where people are
and put them in the weights that are best for them and for us as a team.”
The Trojans will
rely on seven seniors to man the top half of the lineup, including state
runner-up’s Lucas Davison (195) and Diego Lemley (160).
“Lucas had a really
successful National competition season this year,” Joll said. “Diego has an
upper body injury right now. We’ll just wait on him to get back out there
and let him do his thing.”
The run of seniors
starts at 138 with Troy Johnson, followed by Ryne Beckman (152), Lemley
(160), Cade Girgenti (170), Kevin Mochen (182) and Davison (195). Zeke
Highlan will wrestle 160 as Lemley recovers from his injury.
“We are senior
heavy at the top end of the lineup with those seven guys,” Joll said.
“They’ve all been in the room for a long time now and they’re good kids that
know how to work hard. It’s a good group of seniors to break in the talented
group of freshmen we have.”
Girgenti could be
the next of the Trojans to make the State jump after falling in Semistate
“We have some
pretty lofty goals for all those returning guys and Cade (Girgenti),” Joll
said. “Cade was one of the top 3-4 guys in the Semistate last year and ran
into the wrong guy. The guy that beat him finished fifth.
“He doesn’t look
like the same kid as last year and he’s starting to open up a little more.”
The lone junior in
the top of the lineup is Eli Pokorney, a state medalist at 220 last year,
who moves to heavyweight this year.
“Eli could make
220, but there isn’t a 220 in college,” Joll said. “He won’t be 97, so let’s
get him ready to be a heavyweight. Lucas and Eli will have to challenge each
other in the room. We’re only one deep in each of those weight classes.”
The other State
qualifier was Danny Tolin last year who will be anchoring a young group at
the bottom of the Trojan lineup.
“It’s always hard
to duplicate a year like he had,” Joll said. “Hopefully, he gets to the next
level. His goal isn’t to get to State any more, it’s to get on the medal
Four freshmen will
crack the lineup, including Brandon Bolin (106), Ethan Kaiser (120), Cade
Johnson (126) and Brock Ellis (145).
“We’re probably a
little bit more solid as a dual meet team than we were last year, but we’ll
be more inexperienced,” Joll said. “We don’t have as many glaring holes, but
we’ll be relying on a lot of freshmen. The freshmen have been around the
program long enough growing up that they understand what’s expected and how
to go about things.
“We’ve got a good
group of really hard-working kids. We have a good group of scrappers that
work hard and like to fight hard.”
Rounding out the
Trojan lineup will be sophomore Nick Winland at 132.
“We’ll win the dual
meets we can with who we have,” Joll said. “Each match brings it’s own
challenges. We’ll modify things as we go along and try to get as many guys
to Semistate as we can and then sneak some guys through to State.”