Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda’s wrestling team is young and inexperienced, but there’s a ton of talent within its ranks, according to coach Dan Fire.
He said there a few guys on the squad that will be very competitive this season.
“I got a bunch of good kids that are all eager to learn,” he said. “Let’s face it, this is a one-on-one sport — These are the gladiators of NT as far as I can see. When they’re down on the mat it’s a full go for six minutes, and these guys are up for that challenge and you have to respect that.”
The No. 1 guy for the Lumberjacks is freshman 99-pounder Troy Keller, who opened his season with a 16-1, technical fall victory over Kenmore West’s Franklin Fragal.
Fire said that Keller is lethal on the mat and has a chance to be a very special wrestler.
“Troy has been wrestling for varsity for three years (since seventh grade) and he has over 50 career wins already — halfway to the century mark,” Fire said. “The way he’s been averaging is 25 wins a year. With that trend he’ll hit 100 pretty quick. He’s in a tough weight class this year and there’s a couple boys there that he’ll have to hurdle over.”
Seniors Taylor Eckstein (182 pounds) and Josh Blose (220 pounds) are the team’s only two seniors on the wrestling team this season. Blose was the only other NT wrestler to notch a win in the team’s dual match against Ken West. Fire expects both his seniors to progress and become even better as the season goes on and they learn more about the sport.
Junior 285-pounder Ryan Osbourne came close to earning a sectional patch last season and Fire expects him to be very tough to beat this year, calling him “a true prospect.” Doug George, Will Lizqucaas and Bryce Drake will also be competitive for the Jacks this season.