Morrill, Moore return for young and inexperienced Wildcat wrestling team
THREE RIVERS — Although young, Three Rivers’ wrestling team looks to make a big statement on the mats this season with its strong tradition in the sport.
Three Rivers finished fifth in league duals and ended up sixth in the 2015-16 final Wolverine Conference standings.
“We’re looking to build off some key returners and some of our younger wrestlers this season,” coach Pete Bachinski said.
Returning are two-time regional qualifiers in juniors Chris Morrill at 130 pounds and Tyler Moore (215).
“Both Chris and Tyler have been working hard and look to be strong for us again this season,” Bachinski said.
Other key top returners include senior Andrew Lough (140), and freshman Eric Vergauwen (130).
The rest of the lineup so far has been a toss up between several up and coming grapplers full of talent and great potential.
Bachinski and his coaching staff have spent the early portion of the Wildcats’ schedule figuring out which grappler is best suited for each weight class.
“We have been juggling a lot of kids around in our early meets. We should have everyone where we want them in the lineup so we fill all 14 weight classes,” Bachinski said.
Morrill won 39 matches his sophomore season and 33 as a freshman, while Moore has posted 66 career victories as a Wildcat.
“Both of those guys have been competing in wrestling since they were five or six years old,” Bachinski said.
“We’re really counting on those two guys to help lead the younger guys and to have great success themselves this year. They have a ton of talent and are ready to apply that to the mat. If they do that, great things will happen to them.”
Also returning for Three Rivers are the sophomore brother act of Josh Draper (140) and Michael Draper (160), along with classmate Zach Forman (171).
“All three of those guys finished in the varsity lineup by the end of the year. We’re hoping they picked up a lot from last season so they are a force when they step onto the mat,” Bachinski said.
Bachinski has been impressed so far from what he’s seen out of Lough and Vergauwen.
“Andrew is one of the lone seniors that we have on our team and Eric possesses a lot of talent. We’re excited to see what they can do. The rest of our guys are going to come in and take their lumps and learn their way. We’re going to build this program up to make a run here over the next couple seasons,” Bachinski said.
Three Rivers’ goals are to build for the latter part of regular and prepare the Cats for the team and individual state tournament.
“We want to make finish the season as strong as we can. One of our goals is to make sure we’re not getting pinned by people who pinned us earlier in the season and avenging losses. We want to grow as individuals and take advantage of that experience,” Bachinski said.
“This team is working real hard. Some of the kids who didn’t know what they were doing in early practices are picking things up now. As the year progresses it’s going to be real beneficial once they learn what they need to fix for future matches.”
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