Wrestling Team Ready for Conference Championships
Will Rossmiller

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point wrestling team has experienced some success this season and is currently ranked 10th in the country.

“We had high expectations going into this season,” said Johnny Johnson, head coach. “This team has lived up to those expectations.”

The team wrapped up their regular season last Friday, as they lost to the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse 27-7. The team now looks ahead to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships this next Sunday.

The Pointers started the season off strong, winning the 2012 Lakeland College Muskie Invite in Sheboygan. They most recently won the Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College in Pennsylvanian this past January.

However, lately the Pointers have lost five of their last seven meets. Coach Johnson cites team injuries as a major issue.

“We have had some injuries of late, but people are starting to get healthy, and we should have almost everybody ready for the conference championships.”

A big part of the team’s success this season has been its strong class of upperclassmen. Of the 11 wrestlers that are juniors or seniors, seven have won at least 20 matches this season.

“This group of juniors and seniors were one of the best recruiting classes that I have ever been able to pull in,” Johnson said. “It’s a really tight group, and they have stepped up.”

The team’s leader on the mat is senior Jordan Kust. Kust has a team high of 30 match wins this season and is closing in on 100 match wins for his career.

“My season is going pretty good. I got a good record so far this year, but I need to keep working hard so I can accomplish my goals for the season,” Kust said.

Another senior that has had a strong season is Ben Strobel. Strobel has 23 wins on the season, despite wrestling for part of the season above his normal weight class. “I feel really confident now that I made the drop down to 149 lbs,” Strobel said.

The upperclassmen aren’t the only wrestlers that have stepped it up this season. Jordan Koranda, a sophomore, is third on the team with 25wins and has a 90 percent conference winning percentage.

“My main individual goal at the beginning of the year was to be an asset to the team,” Koranda said.

The success for Koranda initially came as a surprise, as this is his first year wrestling at a collegiate level.

The team has gone a long way this season. According to the wrestlers, that has a lot to do with the coaching staff.

“I think it’s really important for everyone to know that this team would not be as good as it is without our coaches,” Koranda said. “Our coaches put in so much time with everyone individually to make us all better.”

The team is focused on the conference championships, but even if they are successful, it still won’t mean an NCAA championship berth.

The individual wrestlers will have to perform well at NCAA regional to advance to the championships. The team believes that they can have success to finish this season.

“This team has no limit, and when we are at our best we are one of the toughest in the nation,” Kust said. “We have the opportunity to do something great, and we are going to make the most of this opportunity.”