Youthful Chargers struggle with growing pains

Photo by Cody Aughton

Cody Aughton
Staff Reporter

In just his second year of coaching, head coach Joe Privitere, had the task of resurrecting the wrestling program and begin his first dual team season due to the number of wrestlers the program had in the previous years.

“We have to start somewhere,” said Privitere. “Every great program struggles at some point and that is where we are at.”

The Chargers were a shut out this year with a record of 0 and 10.  But the team was able to qualify six wrestlers for the national tournament.  

“It is great for the kids to qualify,” said assistant coach Zack Mullins, “but we want to have All-Americans and be a team in the top 10 and it is an uphill battle to get there.”

The six national qualifiers consisted of four freshmen; Luis Flores, Dillion Freeman, Abram Reynolds and Tyler Baughman; sophomore Devin DeRocher; and lone senior Ben Taylor who racked up a majority of the points for the team as he went 2-2 and was one bout away from being an All-American. 

“Ben worked hard all year,” said Privitere. “He has been here for four years and we could not have asked anymore out of him. He wrestled well and just came up short.” 

The bright spot on the Chargers roster was freshman Luis Flores.  Flores went 23-13 in his first year earning himself a GPAC wrestling honorable mention.  

“It was a transition from high school to college wrestling, said Flores. “I struggled the first couple of weeks and I had to make adjustments to succeed.”

Flores was one of the 16 freshman on the roster of 21 players.

“We were a young squad and hopefully each wrestler improves and matures in the off season [so] we can compete with every team we step on the mat with,” said Privitere.

Though the wrestling season may be over, the coaching staff has the responsibility of recruiting for the team next year.  The team has signed 8 seniors so far, most notably Skylar Weber.  The Missouri native was a placed in state two times and was the all-time wins leader at Troy Buchanan High School.

“Skylar is one of those kids that we look to build a program with,” said Mullins. “He has a ton of talent and can compete at the NAIA level.” 

The Chargers will look to improve from last year and grow this young group into All-Americans by the time they take the mat next year.



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Submitted by braunschweigc on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 18:55

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