Hortonville wrestling preview
Q&A with Chris Gennrich
By Erik Buchinger
The Hortonville High School wrestling team loses a few key pieces from last year’s state team, but the Polar Bears will return a few individual state qualifiers.
Head coach Chris Gennrich answered 10 questions about the upcoming season.
Year coaching the team: 15th.
Returning players (grade): Jacob Barnett (Sr.), Nathan Lichtfuss (Sr.), Elliott Luker (Sr.), Griffen Cartwright (Sr.), Joe Cleereman Jr.( Jr.) Nate Bohman (Jr.), Eric Barnett (So.), Bryce Gerner (So.), Colin Schuler (So.).
Players to watch (grade): Eric Barnett (So.) finished third at the state tournament last year. He is the No. 1 ranked sophomore in the state regardless of weight class, the 50th-ranked sophomore in the country regardless of weight class, and the No. 18 ranked 106-pound sophomore in the country. Jacob Barnett (Sr.) is already a three-time state qualifier. Elliott Luker (Sr.) also already a three-time state qualifier. Nathan Lichtfuss (Sr.) was a state qualifier last year.
Team goals/expectations: We always have a goal to set a record for individual state qualifiers every year. Last year was a new record with seven individuals. We also qualified for the state team tournament for first time in school history. Our goal every year is to qualify as a team for team state.
Team’s strengths: Good leadership from our experienced wrestlers. Good work ethic and love to work hard.
Team’s weaknesses: We have to try to replace a lot of quality seniors we lost to graduation, many of them who had been starters for years. This year, we will be filling a lineup a bit short on experience as far as varsity competitions are concerned.
Teams to beat in conference: Kaukauna – two-time defending state champs.
Biggest games on the schedule: Kaukauna. Dvorak Invite in Illinois – a nationally-known tournament that has some of the top teams for the Midwest.
What you want players to get out of this season: I want my wrestlers to learn how to be great young men – young men of the highest moral character with honesty and integrity. I want them to learn how to be great citizens, leaders and pillars of the community they choose to live in as adults. I want them to learn how to become someday great employees, great husbands and great fathers.
Why fans should be excited for this team: I feel our wrestling style is a very exciting style to watch. We are an attacking physical team that is always looking to score. Like last year, we will be a very good team in the top position, good at turning and pinning people which creates a lot of excitement for the fans. We have a lot of top-ranked talent not only in the state but nationally as well. We try to make our home duals not only entertain for the wrestling aspect but also try to make it an overall entertainment event with lights shows, jumbotron graphics and video. If you come to our home duals, you will not only get to see great wrestling, but will also be entertained. As a fan, whether you know anything about wrestling or not, I think you will agree our meets are entertaining, come on out and see them. You won’t be disappointed.