Experienced Mavs thrilled to be back on the mats
With nine returning wrestlers from last year’s team, Colorado Mesa University began its seventh season with a little more excitement and expectations.
The Mavericks had their first practice of the 2012-13 season Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re fired up,” CMU senior Jon Gappmaier said. “We have an older team. We have a bunch of seniors. We’re excited to get it rolling. We have high expectations.
“We’ve always been a young group. Now, a majority of us are juniors and seniors. I can see us going far. I think we can beat anyone in the RMAC.”
The 157-pounder is one of seven seniors and five returning national qualifiers for the Mavericks, and he’s hungry for more.
“It’s a new year, a new chapter,” Gappmaier said of his personal goals. “It’s my last year, I’m going to try to do everything I can to put me in position to get that ultimate goal. I want a national championship.”
Senior Nick Petersen (184 pounds) is back after placing seventh at nationals. Junior Chester Granard (165) and sophomores James Martinez (141) and Paco Retana (285) return after qualifying for nationals.
Colorado Mesa coach Chuck Pipher had 45 wrestlers on the roster and expects to fill all 10 weight classes.
“We have a bunch of guys behind them in their second year or third year,” Pipher said. “That’s what we’re trying to do is develop the second and third guys.
“I think we’re excited about what’s going on and where we’re at.”
Martinez will start the season at 149 pounds, leaving two weight classes wide open to fill — 141 and 125.
Mesa had several forfeits at 125 last year.
Colorado Mesa’s season begins Nov. 3 with the University of Wyoming Open in Laramie, Wyo. The Mavericks host the maroon-and-white scrimmage at 7 p.m. Nov. 7. Mesa hosts two duals Nov. 9 and an open tournament Nov. 10.
The Mavericks are hosting their annual Steak and Crab Fest on Saturday prior to Colorado Mesa’s football game against Fort Lewis College, but the all-you-can eat feast was moved to the Houston Hall lawn on the corner of 12th Street and North Avenue. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the event goes until 8 p.m.
Wrestlers are selling tickets as well.