OSWEGO — After a year off the mat completely in 2020-21, members of this year’s Oswego State wrestling team are eagerly anticipating the start of the season. The Lakers return several high-level competitors from 2019-2020 but anticipate having many new faces in the lineup when the season gets underway this weekend at the Ithaca College invitational.
Team co-captain Charlie Grygas, a 2020 NCAA Championship Qualifier will look to pick up where he left off as a freshman as he compiled a 30-6 record. Grygas also claimed the 2020 Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference title, and will move up a weight class and compete at 174 pounds this year.
Fifth-year senior Isaac Mathews returns to compete at the 165-pound weight class after compiling 48 wins during the previous two seasons and placing in multiple tournaments.
Another returner, John DeConno, will look to anchor the light weights after earning 16 wins and a runner-up finish at the ECWC Championships during his freshman campaign.
The sophomore class will look to get their first taste of collegiate wrestling after the COVID pandemic wiped out last season.
The coaching staff is eager to see what they can accomplish, according to head coach Mike Howard.
Alex Christman, Bryce Smith, Jake Minier and Anthony Cascen all competed at the New York State High School Championships during their senior season of high school. Smith, from Saranac captured, third place at 152 pounds in the Division II bracket while his high school teammate Christman took home seventh place.
Cascen grabbed a fifth-place finish representing Truman High School in the Bronx at 195 pounds in the Division I bracket while Minier from North Rose-Wolcott advanced to the top 12 in the Division II 170-pound bracket. Another impact wrestler will be University at Buffalo transfer C.J. Walz. who is a multiple-time state high school place winner and a former NJCAA National Qualifier. Walz will compete at 141 pounds for the Lakers.
This year’s newcomers are led by transfers Paul Wehr and former Laker standout Jordan Bushey. Wehr finished off his freshman year by finishing seventh at the 2020 Mideast Regional while competing for Hunter College. Bushey, a former All-American for the Lakers, placed fourth at 184 pounds at the 2017 NCAA Championships and claimed a NJCAA national title in 2020 for Niagara County Community College.
With a year off the mat, the coaching staff is preaching patience and feel the team will not hit its stride until mid-season. The Lakers will host their first home competition on Nov. 14 as Ithaca College and Penn College of Technology travel to Oswego for a triangular meet.