The Red Hook team had a nice season in 2011, boasting a 100-match winner in now-graduated wrestler Ricky Treu and sending three grapplers to the state tournament in Albany.
And with the team operating with a full head of steam, head coach Nick Fredericks has a pretty bold prediction for the upcoming season: “I believe we have a good chance of going undefeated as a team against all Division 2 opponents.”
Red Hook, which won the Section 9 championship last season after appealing a scoring miscount that would have given Onteora the title, is looking for its sixth championship under Fredericks.
The team will be moving into the season missing a major cog: Declan Dwyer-McNulty, who scored a seed in the state wrestling tournament in 2011 as a junior, will not be wrestling this year.
But Fredericks looks forward to a strong season with a host of new grapplers looking to make an impact.
“All of my returning senior wrestlers should be stepping up this season,” Fredericks told the Observer. “Aaron Barkstrom, Will Brammer, Anthony DePaoli, Elijah Garcia, Luis Garcia, Mike Rauch, Jonathan Torres, and Brandon Wells. Drew Zarrella and Leif Christensen will be returning for their 10th grade year and have a lot of potential, as well as juniors Bill Harris, Matt Rauch and Ben Zitz. We also have three 8th graders who have joined the team to help fill the lineup at the bottom, as well as a nice group of 9th graders who wrestled for the modified team last season. The 9th graders will be spread throughout the lineup.”
Fredericks said that Matt Rauch, Barkstrom, who placed second in his weight class in division in 2011, and Garcia, who also placed second, are all primed for breakout seasons. Practice has already started for the team, which faces its first varsity tournament Dec. 1 and 2.
Fredericks feels confident that he has a driven group of wrestlers who, despite their age ranges and potential lack of experience, are ready to throw down for the sectional title.
“Our team has 10 seniors as well as a good mix of 8th-11th graders. We have strong leadership in the starting lineup and a strong group of JV wrestlers, as well as young starters who are up for the challenge of continuing the success we have had with Red Hook wrestling,” Fredericks said.
“I am constantly reminding the team that the divisional teams won’t just lay down and roll over for us,” he added. “We need to continue to work hard in practice and not take any team lightly in order to continue a successful program.”