Young PHS team shows good promise

WRESTLING
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – There are bound to be growing pains for a young, inexperienced Plymouth wrestling squad but new head coach Ben Chapman looks forward to seeing the Panthers progress as the season goes on.

“I am enthusiastic about the upcoming season. We are going to have a young team with a lot of raw talent. I am excited to see what level we can take that talent to,” said Chapman, a 2004 PHS graduate who was a state wrestling champion in his senior year.

“Our strength will be that we have a lot of hard-working kids that are excited to learn and improve. A weakness will be our inexperience at the high school level. We will have a lot of freshman and sophomores in the lineup.”

The PHS roster, which includes only 14 wrestlers, has seven freshmen and just two seniors. The Panthers have only five returning letter winners – seniors Keagan Gustin (126-pounder) and Izack Ohman (160), junior Alex Schmidt (145) and sophomores Erik Ohman (152) and Chase Hartmann (113).

Erik Ohman [Izack’s younger brother] leads the group of let- ter winners – having placed third in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference Tournament and fifth in Division 1 regional competition at 126 last season. Erik was named the Panthers’ Rookie of the Year after posting 19 wins, which ranked third on the team, and finishing second in pins with 12.

Izack Ohman and Gustin shared fourth on the PHS squad in victories last season with 18 each. Izack was third in falls with 10. In the EWC Tourney, Izack placed fourth at 160 and Gustin captured fifth at 120.

Junior Jesus Guzman (170) is the only other team member back from last season.

“I expect Izack Ohman, Erik Ohman, Alex Schmidt and Keagan Gustin to be the leaders of the team,” said Chapman.

Even though PHS has a thin roster, the team will be able fill most of the weight classes.

“There are quite a few newcomers that have impressed me with their hard work so far. Two standouts would be Connor Schmidt, a freshman (106), who is very aggressive and is always challenging the upperclassmen when it comes to conditioning,” said the coach.

“Jake Hefter, a freshman (220), is new to wrestling but has quickly picked up the basics and is a very hard-working strong kid.”

Chapman is striving to build the wrestling program into a successful one again and he’s confi- dent that will happen. The varsity team hasn’t had much success in recent years, with low numbers and inexperience being key reasons, although the numbers were good last season.

“I know it’s going to take hard work and effort [to build the program back up]. I want us to learn from our mistakes, keep a positive attitude and keep improving each day, and then we’ll keep building and hopefully build a winning tradition,” said Chapman shortly after he was hired earlier this fall to replace Lucas Lechnir.

Lechnir resigned after four seasons in order to take assistant principal and athletic director positions at a Green Bay middle school this fall.

“The keys to success will be progressing throughout the year and learning from our mistakes. We have a very young team that will make mistakes. It’s up to us to correct those and learn from them. If we can do that we will be successful at the end of the year, and that’s what matters,” said Chapman.

He sized up the EWC competition.

“The conference is always a tough wrestling conference. Two Rivers, Sheboygan Falls, as well as a few other teams, will be very tough this year,” he said.

Two Rivers is the three-time defending EWC Tournament champion. Falls placed second and PHS was seventh last season. The Panthers finished 2-5 in EWC dual meets and 5-12 overall.

Chapman, the head coach at Sheboygan North last season, pointed out his top goals for the campaign.

“My top goal of the season is to have a great showing at the conference tournament,” he said.

“We will have a tough start to the season with being so young. I want to see our team grow and gain confidence going into the conference tournament at the end of the year. It would be great to make a statement there.”

PLYMOUTH WRESTLING REMAINING SCHEDULE

Dec. 11 – Sheboygan Falls, here
Dec. 12 – @ Wisconsin Dells Duals
Dec. 13 – @ Wisconsin Dells Duals
Dec. 16 – @ Waupun
Dec. 20 – @ Oostburg Invitational (V)
Dec. 29 – Northern Exposure Tourney,
@ Merrill
Dec. 30 – Northern Exposure Tourney,
@ Merrill
Jan. 8 – Two Rivers, here
Jan. 10 – Plymouth Invite (V), here
Jan. 13 – @ Kiel
Jan. 17 – @ Brookfield Cen. Tourney
Jan. 17 – @ Sheboygan Falls JV Invite
Jan. 20 – Kewaskum, here
Jan. 24 – @ Fort Atkinson Invitational
Jan. 24 – @ Ozaukee JV Invite

Jan. 30 – @ New Holstein
Feb. 7 – EWC Tourney, @ Waupun
Feb. 14 – Regional, @ Beaver Dam

PLYMOUTH WRESTLING ROSTER

Seniors – *Keagan Gustin (126 pounds) and *Izack Ohman (160).

Juniors – *Alex Schmidt (145) and Jesus Guzman (170).

Sophomores – *Chase Hartmann (113), Dennis Macheel (145) and *Erik Ohman (152).

Freshmen – Connor Schmidt (106), Chase Ritt (120), Nathan Francis (132), Joe Harvey (138), Jesse Schwarten (195), Jake Hefter (220) and Gabe Haun (285).

* = Returning letter winner.


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