The theme for the Peninsula wrestling team is simple: Reload. After the Seahawks placed fourth in the team standings last season in the Class 3A Mat Classic, Peninsula’s wrestlers and coaches don’t expect much of a drop-off this season, even after losing stud wrestlers Luke Holsinger and Zach Goddard.
“It’s a nice system, just having a good foundation of what we’re doing,” said assistant coach Gary Griffin. “It’s nothing flashy. People know what we want to do and we just let them try to stop it. It’s not so much worrying about what everyone else is doing. We’re just consistent in our message to our guys. There’s no shortcuts. They have to earn it. Hard work gets you pretty far, especially in a wrestling room.”
The Seahawks still have a solid core of players to work around. Senior Chance Stolz is a favorite to compete for a state title in either the 220- or 195-pound weight class. Junior Michael Campigotto took sixth last year at state in the 113-pound class. He’s hoping to crack the top four this season.
“I still don’t see why the team can’t be a top 10 team at state,” Campigotto said. “We lost a lot of good guys but we gained a lot of young guys that are really stepping up. We’re going to be a tough team to compete with. For me, it’s going to come down to my work ethic in the practice room. I’ve got to step up and lead the team and work hard.”
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Other wrestlers to watch are Riley Wynn (120) and Seth Wahto (152). Peninsula has been a consistently solid program under fifth-year head coach Mark Nickels and Griffin.
“The coaches are just dedicated to making us better,” Campigotto said. “We’re dedicated to making ourselves better. No one is going to quit or stop working hard if we’re dedicated. Look for us at the end of the season because we’re going to be up there with everyone.”
Griffin expects Stolz to be a force at Mat Classic.
“His goal is to win a state title,” Griffin said. “It’s definitely in the cards. There’s no reason to think otherwise.”
For Peninsula, the wrestlers change from year to year, but the expectations remain the same.
“We expect to find ourselves on the big board at the state tournament and be a top 10 team,” Griffin said. “That’s just a constant goal. Every year we lose a state finalist. We just lose them and we just keep going. It’s a nice little reload we have. We always have someone coming in to fill their shoes.”