Health, mentality keys to successful wrestling season at WP

WHITE PIGEON — White Pigeon’s wrestling team possesses enough talent to remain a force in the BCS League and beyond despite losing some quality performers to graduation.
Jay Sosinski, who enters his 14th season as the Chiefs’ head coach, lost five seniors off a team that finished 23-16 overall in dual meets.
White Pigeon compiled a mark of 9-1 in the BCS and tied Bronson for the conference championship.
Graduating off last year’s squad were Nic McIntyre, Mitch Weber, Jake Black (regional qualifier), Jared Mroz (regional qualifier) and Braydon Steeb (seventh in the state).
Those five grapplers combined for more than 150 victories last season.
White Pigeon returns two state qualifiers in sophomore Kyle Black at 119 pounds and junior Nate Weber at 130. Black finished fourth in the state at the individual finals as a freshman.
Also returning to the mat are sophomore Austin Raymond (103), senior Luke Lambert (112), sophomore Dakota Conley (119), junior Bruno Martinez (119), sophomore Evan Atherton (130), sophomore Carlos Castro (140), junior Sebastian Castro (152), junior Hunter Jourdan (160), senior Hunter Rummler (171), sophomore Mason Aumack (215), sophomore Dominic Solis (215), senior Jair Luna (215) and junior Ty Freedline (285).
“All of them will help this team succeed. Many are coming off success from last year. We have many returning regional and state qualifiers providing experience in the practice room and helping each other improve on a daily basis,” Sosinski said.
“All are very competitive and want to win. Their work ethic is phenomenal. They all want to win and improve from last year’s season and success. This is a great group of returners and there isn’t anything I couldn’t say about one without saying it for all of them.”
Conley, Atherton, Carlos Castro and Rummler were all regional qualifiers.
Among the top newcomers is freshman Lincoln Strawser (119).
“Lincoln has years of wrestling experience and his knowledge and experience will be an asset in the practice room and in the varsity lineup,” Sosinski said.
Also new to the squad is sophomore Daymeon Barfell (125).
“Daymeon is learning and getting better all the time,” Sosinski said.
Junior Abraham Garcia (145) is in his first year.
“Abraham is working hard to get better everyday,” Sosinski said.
Senior Matthew Samuilovic is an exchange student from Serbia with jujitsu experience and wanting to learn wrestling. He will compete at 171.
“Matthew is a quick study and smart kid who is a pleasure to have in the room,” Sosinski said.
Junior Nate Reed will fill out the 189 class.
“Nate has never wrestled before but is improving everyday and enjoys the sport,” Sosinski said.
Sophomore Nate Hagen (189) is also challenging for a varsity spot.
“Nate is a great athlete with a heart and desire to win and help his team. He is working to add techniques to his arsenal of moves to meet his goals,” Sosinski said.
Freshman Kobie DeBruine holds down the 285 spot.
“Kobie has a few years' experience and is a very coachable kid wanting to learn and get better every day at practice,” Sosinski said.
White Pigeon features good depth with 22 out for the team.
“All 22 guys have a heart and desire to work as one single unit. They all know their strengths and weaknesses and are helping each other improve and supporting each other in practice and in matches,” Sosinski said.
Black, Sebastian Castro, Jourdan, Rummler and Weber will all serve as team captain.
“Those five guys reflect the values and goals of the whole team. They are doing a great job as leaders for the group and the results have been team success,” Sosinski said.
White Pigeon’s ultimate goal is to win team districts.
Sosinski points to Bronson and Mendon as the teams to beat in the conference.
“Both teams return quality starters and have added young talent to their rosters. I think they are the teams to beat to win the conference,” Sosinski said.
Health and mentality will be the biggest keys to success for White Pigeon.
“If we can remain healthy the entire season then it will be successful as no coach wants his kids to get injured. If we can grow and mature mentally, learn from our mistakes and bounce back from tough losses as individuals and as a team,” Sosinski said.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or

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