Wilkes wrestling team opens up season

Trevor Gilliam, Correspondent

The Wilkes University wrestling team finished 19-4 overall in 2011-12 and the team has many strong returners that look to succeed in their weight classes.

The Colonels were nationally ranked at No. 11 in the country last season and look to repeat that this year.

“I really like our team this year, the guys are improving everyday are only getting better,” head coach Jon Laudenslager said. He will be in his 10th season at Wilkes University with an overall record of 135-66-5.

Although the Colonels lost their top wrestler last year, Anthony Dattolo, who was a two-time All-American, two-time conference champion and national runner-up, the team looks to fill his shoes with its returners.

The Colonels are off to a rocky start with a record of 1-3 coming out of the John Reese Duals at the Marts Center earlier this month. However, the team defeated Elizabethtown and stands at 2-3.

The Colonels stack up pretty well in with the other teams in their conference. With having a few veterans return to the team, they look to the young guns to step up and show that they know what they’re doing.

Sophomore Michael Fleck, has a career record of 37-9 in the 125-pound weight class  broke the single season all-time record wins in a season and also a NCAA qualifier.

“This season will be a test for me and the rest of my team,” Fleck said.

Junior Myzar Mendoza finished with an overall record of 28-8 in the 2011-2012 seasons and has a career record of 58-16 in the 133-pound weight class, and is 5-1 so far this season and received an invite to the Monarch Invitational. Last season, Mendoza placed first at the Messiah Petrofes Invitational and took second at the Wilkes Open.

Finishing fifth in the Metropolitan Conference Championships, Mendoza looks to succeed in farther than last season.