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Scotus Wrestling Preview 2018-19: Rocks ready to prove themselves

November 22, 2018

Scotus Central Catholic wrestling enters the 2018-19 season in familiar territory.

For the second year in a row, the Shamrocks don’t return any wrestlers who appeared in the previous state tournament. SCC has had at least two representatives each of the past two years, but after both seasons, those wrestlers graduated and moved on.

Thus, head coach D.J. Brandenburg, goes into another campaign looking for leaders.

“I think our guys are hungry,” Brandenburg said last week after practice. “We’ve got some kids that should’ve qualified last year that lost within seconds at districts. I think I’ve got a good set of seniors this year leading this team. Our senior captains this year are (Evan) Sliva, (Colby) Gilson and (Jackson) Neville. They’re hungry.”

“Neville lost within four seconds last year at districts from qualifying and should’ve been there. He’s hungry and looking good. They put in a lot of hard work this summer, we did summer camps, summer leagues, a team bonding exercise. The team is much more unified this year compared to last year.”

In order to achieve the success that they’re hoping for, Brandenburg went and found a coaching staff to help the Shamrocks get results.

He recruited former assistant Galen Kamrath, Scotus powerlifting coach Tom Woodward and former YMCA wrestling program director Rex Robinson

Brandenburg said that he feels the Shamrocks will surprise a lot of people with how well they perform this year and hopes to hopefully qualify up to six or seven wrestlers for the state tournament.

With none of the current wrestlers ever having been to the state tournament, Brandenburg said the current team is hungry for that experience. As close as many were last season, there’s a renewed hunger to get back and make up for lost time.

“It adds a lot of fuel to the fire,” Brandenburg said. “They were seconds away. There was a few of them. Daniel Tworek, he’s another senior this year, I think he’s going to do really well. I think he will be maybe top-four this year at state. They’ve always wanted to go, and he was another one last year at districts that was seconds away from scoring to go.”

The two qualifiers from a year ago were Wren Allen and Landon Sokol.

Sokol finished a 21-11 season at 185 pounds going 1-2 in Omaha. Allen closed his SCC career with a sixth-place medal during a 37-12 season. He won his first two state matches by pin then dropped the next three.

In the five years Scotus has had a program, the Shamrocks have produced at least two state qualifiers every year and won at least one medal. The high was 2016 when nine from SCC went and five walked away with medals including two state champs.

“That’s something that this school has always done,” Brandenburg said. “We’ve qualified kids, and we’ve always brought home a medal, and that is one of our team goals as well. We’re going to bring home some medals.

“Another thing is we placed second at conference last year, we would like to win conference this year. We’ve got some great team goals, we’ve got some good numbers out. A lot of kids that haven’t wrestled before, but I love having them out. I love that they’re taking risks and we’ve got bodies in the room to wrestle with. It’s exciting for us this year.”

The Shamrocks have also set the goal of qualifying for state duals, something that’s within reach thanks to having nearly a full lineup in all 14 spots.

“I believe that we’re going to be able to fill a full team other than maybe one weight class,” Brandenburg said. “There’s still that hidden guy we’re looking for. We may have to bump some guys around to make that happen, but I think we’re one weight class away from having a full team, and that’s exciting.

“The boys want to qualify for the state dual tournament. That could be possible. All I need is eight pinners, and I think there are some pinners on this team.”

Another wrestler that Brandenburg said that people should watch out for this season is Nick Taylor who is coming back after breaking his arm and leg in previous seasons. Brandenburg said that Taylor is “going to make some noise this year.”

The first competition for Scotus will be the Lakeview Invitational at 2 p.m. at Nov. 30.

“We’re ready for battle,” Brandenburg said. “We are in a rebuilding process there is no doubt about that, but like I said last year, we rewound everything and just went back to technique.

“A lot of these guys never got to wrestle varsity, and they had losing records. They’re coming back wrestling varsity with winning records from last year. Even though they didn’t make it to state, they have winning records. Which they had losing records the year before that at the JV level, so I’m really happy with them. I think we’ll shock some people.”

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com

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