Wrestlers have a lot to replace
A lot of Parkland wrestling talent has graduated from last year’s team, but second-year coach Mike Ottinger is not one to makes excuses.
“My expectation for this season is that we’re going to put out lots of effort,” Ottinger said in assessing his squad’s chances this season. “I want to see us outwork our opponents this year no matter who we are facing. There’s no question we have a lot of youth.”
Parkland hovered around the .500 mark most of last year, ending at 7-7. However they also had some superlative individual efforts that were far from mediocre.
Ottinger, a former Trojan wrestler, is no stranger to mat success as a two-time district champ and three-time state qualifier. He took home a state title with his persistence and dedication to the sport in 2011 before graduating and heading to Central Michigan University, where he won 104 matches, qualified for nationals four times and won a pair of Mid-American Conference individual national championships.
“Wrestling teaches young men a lot of things,” Ottinger said. “It teaches discipline. It teaches diet. It even helps you handle stress.”
Any coach would have some stress losing the very talented Zach Ortman, who finished a sterling wrestling career with a seventh-place finish in Hershey last year. Losing Ortman is enough of a challenge, but the Trojans have also lost the services of seniors Brandon Kassis and Joey Guida, who suffered an injury during the Trojan football season.
Ottinger has reason to smile with senior Mason Lansenderfer returning in the 138-pound weight class.
“He’s just a very fundamentally sound wrestler,” Ottinger noted. “He’s very hard to score on.”
If Lansenderfer can put together some offense this season, opponents should watch out.
Junior Brian Diaz (126) is another stud who, according to his coach, “has put on some size.” Diaz may also wrestle this year at 132.
Senior Cory Boarder is expected to be really rugged at a weight to be determined. Senior Kale Cummings will also serve notice he’s not be taken lightly by opponents in either the 138 or 145 classes. In addition, junior Lucas Kern, wrestling at 126, is “really, really tough,” according to his coach.
Seniors Sebastian Conteras (132), Fahad Alanazi (132), Joshua Drummond (152), Raja Farakh (152) and Mubashar Mughal (195) are expected to provide leadership for the Trojans. Juniors Gabe Montanez (120) and Matt Hartnett (145) should be hard to handle, along with Carson Varano (126) and Brian Diaz (126).
Underclassmen who are looking to gain experience and make an impact during the season include Gabe Blocker (138) and Edwin Moya (170).