CHURUBUSCO — Sam Riesen, in his 10th season as head coach of the Churubusco wrestling team, likes what his team brings to the mat this year.

“We have a really talented team from 106-285 pounds. We just have to be focused, and work toward getting back to a state championship level,” said Riesen. “We are going to focus a lot about the culture of wrestling at our school this year, and hope to see that change from always having a solid competitive team, to being the top small school team in the state again.”

Last year’s team posted a winning record of 10-8.

“For a small school we have stayed very competitive over the last 10 years,” said Riesen. “We have won two NECC titles, and also have finished first, second, fifth, and been a qualifier for our state coach’s association team state duals. The winner of that event is viewed as being a state champion in the wrestling world. We have been fairly consistent with only one losing season over that time.

“We are a younger team. Most of our varsity will come from our sophomore class, though our upper classmen will be critical in our success this season,” said Riesen.

“Joe Leazier, Tom Wible, Joe Rennaker and Max Sadjak are going to provide us with a lot of senior leadership this year. Those guys have all been part of the program going back to middle school, and are the kind of kids who provide our team with a solid leadership. Among underclassmen there are a number of kids who I could see working into a leadership role. We are voting as a team for that position Monday.”

The Eagles have a few wrestlers that are locks to be stars on the team in which are Leazier, Korbyn Resiter and Reese Wicker.

“(Joe) Leazier is our top guy in terms of accomplishments. Joe will be a team leader and should have a really solid year,” said Riesen. “ Joe is very talented and if he keeps focused on his goals, will be a state finalist this season. Korbyn Resiter is a returning regional guy for us. He did a fantastic job as a freshman last year, and will look to make a further run this year. Reese (Wicker) is probably the best natural talent I’ve had. Reese was fantastic last year in bumping up a weight class to 285. This season we are really excited about what he brings to the table. There are a lot of other kids on the team who could be a breakout star this season, so we are pumped to see who that kid will be.”

Riesen is optimistic that this Eagles team will have a successful season, despite having a tough schedule.

“I think we could be pretty good, but our schedule is pretty loaded this year,” Riesen said. “I think we will have a competitive team, but in terms of wins/ losses it will be interesting to see how we shake out. We want to finish above .500 for sure, and also be in the top end of all of the tournaments we wrestle in. We also hope to get back to the team state as a group next season. Individually we have a whole team of kids who could compete for the regional spots, and we hope to get between 4-6 kids to the semistate or further.”