Raider wrestling defeated the Lafayette Jeff Bronchos Wednesday night by a score of 60-6 on senior night.
After the departure of head coach Scott Van Der Aa, Harrison hired Johnny Henry, who has been an assistant for the Raiders.
“I am beyond excited to be the new head coach and to build on the success the Harrison
wrestling program has experienced in previous years,” said Henry. “I enjoy working with the athletes daily. It is an honor to be trusted with this program, especially after all of the hard work and lasting impact Coach Van Der Aa made during his time here.”
Henry has experienced success so far this season as the Raiders are 17-1, with the only loss coming from a very good Merrillville team. This early success may be foreshadowing what the Raiders will do in the postseason; the Raiders have a streak of seven consecutive sectional championships and six consecutive regional championships.
But with any season, there will be challenges along the way.
“Keeping everyone healthy,” said Henry. “It is a long season, and it is hard for our wrestlers to go all year without experiencing a physical injury or mental burnout.”
Senior Donnie Crider (220 pounds) was a state qualifier last year, but will face a new challenge this year as he will be wrestling with a torn ACL, which he tore during football season. However, the ACL is almost healed as he has been treating it for a few months.
Despite his injury, Crider has yet to lose this season along with teammate Trey McCartney.
Crider has been to state for two consecutive years while McCartney made it to state during his sophomore season.
This team has different feeling around it than years past.
“We work together as a family,” said Henry. “We are very supportive of one another and build each other up.”
Leadership will be a great strength this year, as the Raiders have 11 seniors rostered. “They have more experience and confidence than we have seen in the past,” said Henry. “The seniors rotate as captains so that all are able to experience a leadership role and continue to develop leadership skills. We have many incoming freshman this year that we are looking forward to fostering into great leaders in their years to come on the team.”
Many incoming freshman is right ‒ 20 to be exact.
The next contest for the Raiders will be the McCutcheon Invitational, where they are the favorites to win.