The Wilkes wrestling team has high expectations as it is ranked No. 13 in the country heading into this season and looking to top their last year’s 19-4 record.
“We will be looking to win the new NCAA East regional as the format for qualifying for the NCAA has changed,” head coach Jon Laudenslager said. “We would like to get at least two more guys to the NCAA National Tournament than last year and certainly get somebody new wrestling on the big stage in the NCAA finals as Anthony Dattolo was last year.”
The Colonels return seven starters to the mat this season including sophomore 125-pounder Michael Fleck, who last season set a school record for most wins in a season in posting his 37-9 mark.
Also returning for the Colonels is junior 133-pounder Myzar Mendoza who went 28-8 last season and is ranked No. 7 in the preseason polls.
Wrestling kicked off its season at the King’s College Monarch Invitational Nov. 3. The team won two individual titles and finished in second place, posting 137 points to trail SUNY Cortland with 147 points. Thirteen Colonels finished in the top six or better in their respective weight classes.
“Some of the more competitive teams that will be at King’s this week are York, Cortland, Roger Williams,” Laudenslager said.
Next week the Colonels wrestle Cortland, Centenary and Johns Hopkins. Cortland and Centenary are ranked No. 7 and No. 8 in country and Hopkins is No. 19. The Colonels face six ranked teams in dual meets these teams include Cortland, Centenary, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan (20) and The College of New Jersey (26).
“It’s another year with a lot of ranked opponents throughout the schedule and a few tournaments where we will have the opportunity to send multiple wrestlers to the mat,” Laudenslager said.
The Wilkes wrestling team returns home on Nov. 10 to host the John Reese Duals.