The Raider wrestling team looks to kick off another very successful season Saturday in the Anderson Invitational.
Harrison wrestling has won the NCC championship the past two years, in addition to claiming five consecutive sectional championships and six consecutive regional championships.
They plan on continuing these streaks, as well as breaking the record for most wins in a season ‒ 39 wins.
The team is very similar to last year’s team with each weight class having a lot of depth.
Ninth-year head coach Scott Van Der Aa knows this team is willing to work hard and continue being successful due to what he saw at the end of last season and in the offseason.
“We have had a large group of wrestlers that have lifted weights three days a week since the end of last season,” said Van Der Aa. “We have also had huge numbers at each of our off-season workouts.”
Juniors Trey McCartney (113 pounds) and Donnie Crider (220 pounds) were both state qualifiers last year, and they are expecting their domination on the mat.
Freshman Sam Hein is in the lineup at 106 pounds, replacing Sidney Shoop, who moved at the end of last year.
Van Der Aa is expecting Hein to have quite the impact as a young wrestler.
Junior Luke Pfeiffer has also broken into the starting lineup wrestling at 160 pounds in his second year.
Pfeiffer was home schooled up until his freshman year.
The junior’s only experience with wrestling prior to joining the team was when he and his brother Isaac, who is a freshman at Harrison, would wrestle each other back on their family farm.
“I wanted to do wrestling because I wanted to try a new sport and some guys on the team said I would be pretty good so I gave it a shot,” said Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer is expecting to make an appearance in semi-state this season as well as having a big impact in the team's success during the regular season.
“There is a good group of guys that have been working hard all summer ‒ in the weight room and on the mat,” said Pfeiffer. “That group is going to make a statement this season.”
Hard work and dedication will drive the Raiders deep into the postseason.
“The work ethic and commitment that our teams have had in the past have turned this into a great program and that will continue to be the key to success,” said Van Der Aa.
Without any seniors in the starting lineup, and around 10 returning starters, the Raiders should have success for not only this season but years to come as well.