GREEN Injuries weren’t kind to the Green wrestling team this season.
With the postseason about to begin, the Bulldogs are looking to bite back against the injury bug and finish up the campaign on a high note.
"We have some really good individuals on team, but we took hard hit from injuries this season," head coach Chris Kriebel said. "We had six starters out with injury, so we faced a lot of challenges over last month and getting those back is or focus."
Despite the injuries, several Bulldogs are grappling with the notion that they can reach the district and maybe even state tournament, with senior David Graber leading the way. In a Federal League featuring some of the best wrestling in Ohio in recent years, Graber turned in the sort of regular season that has both he and his coaches thinking of Columbus at 145 pounds.
"He’s really come along … he’s very aggressive and he’s beating kids by a lot," Kriebel said. "To go undefeated at 6-0 in the Federal League, it’s very encouraging for him because the majority of our sectional is Federal League teams."
Graber’s younger brother Caleb, a junior wrestling at 132 pounds, has also come on strong as the year has worn on. Kriebel noted that the younger Graber has placed in every tournament at which he’s competed, so replicating that success in the postseason is plausible.
The middle weight classes are Green’s strength at this point, with Tyler Kaminski another contender to advance to the district tournament. His second-place result at the North Canton Holiday tournament was an early indicator that Kaminski was out for a strong season and his coach has seen encouraging signs since they.
"His persistence is great … he’s aggressive, he doesn’t quit and he’s motivated," Kriebel said.
Of course, how well an individual is wrestling entering the tournament is one major component of how well he or she will fare in the tournament, but there are other factors at play. For proof of that, look no further than senior Alec Bailey, who has the ability to reach the state toruanemtn, but will have to navigate one of the deepest and toughest sectional tournament brackets in Ohio at 126 pounds.
The Perry sectional is notoriously difficult, but this year’s field at 126 pounds is stacked to an incredible degree. As Kriebel noted, the wrestlers who make it from that bracket to the district tournament will be battle-tested and considered among the favorites to top the podium in Columbus.
The entire Green roster is excited about its chance to shine at sectionals and even the roster’s younger competitors who will be getting their first taste of the postseason have plenty to look forward to as they gain experience that should help them improve in the long run.
As for what he’ll tell his wrestlers before they take the mat this weekend, Kriebel says he intends merely to remind them of how they’ve gotten here, what they’ve done up to this point and where that training can take them.
"What I’m going to tell them is to believe in the work they’ve put in this year. They have put the work in, they done the right things and now is the time to win," Kriebel said.
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