Bobcats after another district titlePublished 10:47pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Days later, Brandywine wrestling coach Rex Pomranka was still excited about his team winning its first Lakeland Conference title since 2004.
The Bobcats edged Buchanan by 4 1/2 points last Wednesday at the league meet.
Pomranka is hoping his squad maintains its intensity Thursday at the team wrestling districts at River Valley High School.
“It was just an exciting night,” said Pomranka about winning the conference meet. “It came down to the last match at 140 pounds and everyone was cheering. It sounded like a basketball game.”
Brandywine’s Kenny Laurita won the final match, 6-4 in overtime, to give the Bobcats the outright league championship.
“We’ve been working several years for a conference championship,” Pomranka said. “We were able to beat Buchanan in a regular season dual meet (36-33) and then finish them off at the conference meet.”
Finishing off team district titles has been much easier for the Bobcats, who have won seven straight titles. Brandywine is an overwhelming favorite to win its eighth straight crown Thursday.
Brandywine, which finished with a 25-4 record in dual meets, faces Eau Claire at 6 p.m. in Three Oaks. In the other semifinal at 6 p.m., Cassopolis faces River Valley. The winners then meet for the championship. The Bobcats beat the other three teams by more than 35 points in dual meets during the regular season.
“We beat Eau Claire handily earlier this year,” Pomranka said. “Eau Claire had only five or six guys when we wrestled them. Now, they have more guys out wrestling. They always bring a good team to the districts. I’m expecting them to have close to a full squad.”
Brandywine has a full and talented squad that features 140-145-pounder Chanc Ravish (38-2 record through the conference meet), 103-pounder Jesse Lochmondy (27-5), 135-pounder Paul Lochmondy (29-6), 189-pounder Joe Monica (24-7), 140-pounder Laurita (29-13), 125-pounder Jeff Cornell (14-5), 130-pounder Brandon Earles (25-6), 112-pounder Chance Eberly (22-7), 160-pounder Vince Sallee (23-12), 171-pounder Kenny Fletcher (25-11), 215-pounder Charlie Rodriguez (29-10) and 285-pounder Corey Katterheinrich (27-10).
“We’re mostly of veteran team of junior and seniors,” Pomranka said. “Our kids are more mature physically and mentally and they can handle state tournament matches.”
Is Pomranka concerned that his team might have a letdown at team districts because of the program’s past dominance at the meet?
“You always have some concern,” the Bobcats coach said. “You can get beaten by anybody on any given day. We just have to wrestle hard and our style. If we do that good things will happen.”
The best news for Brandywine is its good health entering the most important part of the season.
“We got through the flu and I’m hoping we don’t have any problems with illness with this crazy weather,” Pomranka said.