BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – After winning six Fox River Classic Conference titles in a row from 2011-16, the Bay Port wrestling team finally saw its reign end last season.
The Pirates dropped to third in the FRCC behind Pulaski and De Pere but have the young talent to make head coach Brad Shefchik optimistic about the current season.
“We lost six starters and four state qualifiers but if you want to have a good program you have to develop from within,” said Shefchik. “We worked hard to get our incoming freshmen and sophomores ready so we feel pretty good where we are at right now. We have a big group of kids with a lot of young talent so by mid-season, and after we will be pretty tough. Our plan is always to come in and compete for a conference title, and I think we have the guys in the room for sure. We have to come out and win some tough duals early. We tell the kids that everyone else graduates five or six guys so they are like us in that way.”
Bay Port opens its season on Saturday, Dec. 2, when they travel to Luxemburg-Casco for an invitational.
Last year Bay Port lost an opening-season dual to Pulaski, which realistically ended its hopes of a conference title. This year the Pirates won’t see the Red Raiders or De Pere until the end of the season.
Bay Port lost state qualifiers Jake Flisakowski (195), Ben Kitslaar (220), Brady Shulfer (145) and Jaron Maes (132), plus Dan Glendenning and Jordan Osterberg to graduation.
“We’ve had five years of pretty good senior classes,” Shefchik said. “The seniors are really not evaluated on what type of wrestlers they were until you see how they helped the younger kids develop. Obviously from a wrestling standpoint they did great.”
Kitslaar finished fourth, while Shulfer, a four-time state qualifier, took home a sixth-place podium finish.
Shefchik noted that they don’t have a ton of depth with the senior class this year in returners Caleb Hale, William Townley and Jack Ehrfurth, but quite a few football players came out for the team.
“I think we will have to rely heavily on our sophomore class this year,” added Shefchik. “That would be Chandler Stordeur, Austin Heim, Connor Halverson and Marcus Delfosse who all wrestled varsity.”
As of Thanksgiving week, other wrestlers on the roster included seniors Devin Bowers, Trenton De Leon, Travis Jahnke and Eli and Owen Trast; juniors Alex Urban, Joseph Rogals, Chance Osmanski, Kane Nelson, Mars McGriff, Matt Doherty, Hunter Bertrand and Matt Arnoldi; sophomores Tanner Belschner, Jeremiah Hanna, Max Hostetler, Brock Jeffers, Eli Komp, Mitchell McGrane, Max Meeuwsen, Carter Mischka, Ethan Moore, Jacob Nugent, Dylan O’Neil, Lewis Olson, Kain Shepard, Gabriel Stone, Kyle Strauss and Tristan Warzynski; and freshmen Tanner Sonnenberg, Raymond Plumley, Trevor Nys, Sebastian Machkovich, Colton Klimek, Eli Hegeman, Matthew Grzybowski, Dialin Danforth, Drake Bub, Colton Berna, Jadin Baillie and Drake Anderson.
Note: for a complete schedule CLICK HERE.