Wrestling emerges this year as a revamped squad under Interim Head Coach Scott Honecker. Looking to improve on last season’s ninth-place finish at the NEWA tournament, the Ephs hope to thrive off the addition of team alumni Carl Breitenstein ’10 and Nikola Mirkovic ’12 as assistant ooaches this year.
Aside from their coaching staff, the Ephs will also look to their upperclassmen for leadership this year. Last winter, two seniors earned spots at the Div. III National Championship: captain Ces Antista ’13 and Tom Foote ’13. Their performances at Nationals followed a ninth-place team finish at the NEWA Championships in late February.
The team lost only one senior, Mirkovic, to graduation. With a talented group of incoming rookies, the men are looking to start the year strong. “I think that we will regain our confidence and dominant performance very early this season,” Kaison Tanabe ’13 said.
“As a team, we are really excited to get out there and compete,” Antista said. “It is a whole different look with Honecker as the head coach … and I think we are ready to shock the entire conference with how talented our squad is going to be.”
Antista embodies the intense work ethic and winning attitude the men hope to carry with them throughout their season. “I assume losses will come, but they will only motivate us to work harder, wrestle smarter and push us to become the best possible athletes that we can be,” he said.
The men will launch their season this weekend at the Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield on Saturday. Antista is optimistic for the tournament. “The whole team is excited … We will be able [to use the upcoming tournament] to gauge where we are at, determine what we have to improve on and continue to progress toward the top,” he said.
On Nov. 30, the men will compete in a two-day meet at Simpson. They will challenge Simpson and Wartburg.