For the Purple Tigers, the rebuild continues.
With coach Mike Ten Kate at the helm for a second season, the Cortland wrestling team has 13 student-athletes on its roster. While the number of wrestlers has increased, many are new or only have a year or two of experience on the mat.
Still, increased participation is a positive step.
“We’re still in only year two of rebuilding the program, so we’re realistic in our expectations,” said Ten Kate, who boasts a total of 13 years experience coaching. “As always, we are trying to build up Cortland wrestling and help our athletes be successful in all areas of their lives on and off the mat.”
Ten Kate took over the program last year when he became the third head coach in Cortland in as many years. With only 11 wrestlers in a sport that has 15 weight classes, the team went 1-20 overall and 0-5 in the SCAC Empire Division.
But that doesn’t mean the team didn’t have wrestlers earn individual success.
Returners include senior Noah Wurst, who recorded double-digit wins and placed fifth in the 138 pound weight class at the Section III, Class B tournament in Camden last season.
Sophomore Brycen Palmer, who was the most outstanding wrestler at the Odessa-Montour Duals and took sixth at the class tournament at 152 pounds, is returning, as well as junior Jarrod Bush, sophomore Luca Canzano, sophomore F.J. Ott and junior Marcus Hines, who was the most improved wrestler from last season.
Ten Kate also listed freshman Zach Price as one of his top newcomers because of his “great wrestling foundation.”
For Ten Kate, the team strengths come down to three things.
“Work ethic, team togetherness and the hunger to be better,” Ten Kate said.
Cortland is looking to keep taking steps in the right direction this season as the rebuild continues. The 2019-20 season starts when the Purple Tigers host Auburn, JD/CBA/ Solvay/Westhill tonight.
“Myself and my assistant coach (Garrett) Ciotoli are focused on getting the team better every day,” Ten Kate said. “We want to be as competitive as possible and it’s our goal to be on the winning end or more dual meets and matches this season.”
The schedule ––
Dec. 3 AUBURN, JAMESVILLE-DEWITT, 6 p.m.
6-7 at Mark Stephens Classic in Horseheads, 6 p.m. 10 CENTRAL SQUARE, 7 p.m. 14 at Brent Dixon Duals in Central Square, 9 a.m. 18 FULTON, OSWEGO, 6 p.m. 27-28 at Ken Haines Memorial Tournament at SUNY Oswego, 10 a.m.
Jan. 4 at Odessa-Montour Team Duals, 9 a.m. 8 at Syracuse City Schools, 7 p.m. 11 at Dan Wickham Classic Tournament at Unatego, 9 a.m. 16 at Homer, 6 p.m. 18 at Ackley Team Duals in Oswego, 8 a.m. 22 at East Syracuse-Minoa, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 at Section III, Class B Tournament at Central Valley Academy, 10 a.m. 15 at Section III Tournament at OCC.
Home matches in CAPS.