The KU wrestling team is about begin their 2012-2013 season with high hopes and one number on their mind: 18. The Golden Bears are thinking about their 18th place ranking with disgust; fans everywhere are disappointed by the lack of respect they’re receiving. With an influx of new wrestlers and a solid composition of returning college veterans, KU believes they are primed for an outstanding upcoming season.
Junior Kyle Johnson is a former KU wrestler who no longer competes due to injury. Johnson was a former Wyoming Seminary wrestler with two Escape the Rock titles under his belt. When told about the school rankings he said, “Did you say 18th? That’s crazy, they have more state finalists than any other team in Division II.”
KU faces a couple key losses to the line-up. Alumnus Eric Sergent, formerly at 184, returned this season to help coach. Desmond Moore, at 125, graduated and is currently attempting a career in Mixed Martial Arts. Possibly the most critical loss is Micah Bollinger. Despite being one of four to make it to Nationals last season, he chose not to wrestle to further focus on his studies.
Even with losses, this line-up has the potential to be phenomenal. Coach Robert Fisher has not released an official line-up just yet, but there are a few expectations for the team this upcoming season. If all the wrestlers make weight the correct weight, this team has limited holes in the line-up for teams to exploit.
125 lbs: Nick Lamoreaux and Tom Traxler
Coach Fisher is not one for starting a single 125 lb. wrestler. For the past two seasons, even with well-regarded 125 lb wrestler like Chris Sheetz, he still switches this weight often. With that said, the two likely starters this season are junior Lamoreaux and freshman Traxler.
Lamoreaux has been working extremely hard the past two seasons trying to crack the solid KU line-up. A former wrestler for Hershey Milton, a private high school in PA, he was a dominant force at his weight. Though he was always ranked high at his weight, he never was able to finish in states as high as he’d like, self-proclaiming himself to be a “choke-artist.” His senior year he finished 31-3 at 112 pounds.
Traxler, from Bellefonte High School, is expected to make a lot of noise this season. He finished his career with 131 wins, second best in his school’s history. Most impressive is his performance at the PIAA AAA tournament. He was a four-time place winner; his best finish was fifth place.
133 lbs: Austin Ormsbee
By far the biggest acquisition this past offseason is Ormsbee. Ormsbee wrestled for the best high school in the country, Blair Academy. Coming out of high school, he touted as the eighth best recruit of the nation and was the best at his weight. Finishing with a total of 170 career wins, Ormsbee has racked up award after award. His accomplishments include the following: Junior National Freestyle Champion, four-time National Prep Champion, and two time Beast of the East Champion.
“Ormsbee is the most decorated recruit we have ever had here at KU,” said Coach Fisher.
141 lbs: Evan Yenolevich
One of a handful of leaders on the team this season, Yenolevich is going to be an excellent combination with Ormsbee. His work ethic is better than ever, teammates say. Former State Champion, Yenolevich added another title to his name this past season: All-American. After winning the Super Region I tournament last season, he finished fourth at Nationals. Currently, Yenolevich is ranked fourth in the Nation. With 28 wins last year, Yenolevich is clearly the cream of the crop for KU.
149 lbs: Mitch Voelker
After three long years of a lot of trial and error, Voelker finally seems to have his mind ready for wrestling. By far one of the harder workers on the team, Mitch has worked all summer on his craft and it shows. Each year Voelker manages to improve his win total, last season he had nine. Voelker has 15 total career wins, but with the surrounding talent, he is bound to do even better
“Me and Yeno have worked all summer climbing ropes and just working out, we’re ready for this season,” Voelker said, “It’s my senior year, I have to be ready.”
157 lbs: Matt Martoccio
Another incoming wrestler, this guy has talent. Former Council Rock South wrestler, he tallied 145 victories over his career. He placed in the PIAA AAA tournament twice and made three appearances. Martoccio already has experience wrestling college for Lock Haven. His freshman year he finished 8-7. Among his accolades include placing at both the Super 32 tournament and the Ironman tournament.
Coach Fisher has high hopes for Martoccio in particular. “With a year of college experience under his belt, he should be ready to excel right away.”
With the first half of the projected line-up unveiled, there is still another half of excellent wrestlers to be revealed. Read next week to get a preview of the rest of the talent KU has to offer. Wrestling begins their season at the East Stroudsburg Open Nov. 17.
By Frank Lippincott