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VMI 2016 Season Preview

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VMI 2016 Season Preview

Postby Allen Brown » Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:10 pm

LEXINGTON, Va. - With the 2015-16 wrestling season getting underway this weekend with a dual at The Citadel on Saturday morning and the Hokie Open all day Sunday, VMI head coach Chris Skretkowicz sat down to answer questions about his program.

What is your overall outlook heading into this season?
We have a great group of upperclassmen and seniors. I’m looking for leadership from them in terms of the development of the team. We’ve brought in the top recruiting class in the past 15 years for our program. With that said, we need the upperclassmen to really step up to help the freshmen. It’s a big adjustment for the guys coming out of high school to compete at the collegiate level.

Team Goals
We want to show continued progression. I’m not going to come out and say that we’re going to win the Southern Conference this season, but I want that to be our focus for the future as we build this program. Last year we finished with 27 points at the league tournament. This year, I’d like to end up with over 40 and finish in the better half of the conference. I would consider that a successful year. The coach in me wants to say we’ll have 10 individual conference champions this year, but that is not a realistic expectation. I think we have potential for two guys to win their weight classes this season and a few others who can finish on the podium. We had two guys on the podium last year, one the year before and zero in 2013. We are showing gradual progression and working hard for continued improvement. With the guys we have, I think we can get four guys on the podium.

Southern Conference
I think we can beat The Citadel this year. Last year, we lost 21-18 and let three or four bouts get away from us that could have shifted the outcome. Juan is a big loss at heavyweight, but we have guys who are stepping up and working to compete at the level that Juan did. Everywhere else, we have depth or have gotten older with more experience.

We should beat Davidson and SIU-Edwardsville. I have no idea what to expect from Campbell. App State is going to be tough, Chattanooga will be tough. Gardner-Webb should be a good matchup for us to gauge our improvement; they have grit and compete hard until the end.

Team Captains
Our team leaders will be Shabaka Johns, Dalton Henderson and Derek Thurman. Shabaka is an overall leader in life. He does well in his matches, has a good GPA and listens to everything we ask him to do. Dalton and Derek are on time to practice every day and are always trying to guide and teach. Dalton works with the small guys, Shabaka leads the middleweights and Derek does a nice job with the upperweights.

Last year we finished 6-8 and I’d like to flip that this season. Finishing above .500 should be a realistic goal for us. Any show of improvement then we’re heading in the right direction, the faster the better, obviously. We can beat Sacred Heart, Hofstra and Bloomsburg out of conference and I’m hoping for a solid effort in conference matches to earn 4-5 more wins. It’s been awhile since we’ve had seven wins in one season, so we’re aiming for that as a baseline.

VMI Wrestling
Allen Brown


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