The Lejeune High School wrestling team is eager to get its season started. Since the end of the fall sports season, the Lejeune wrestlers have been practicing for three hours after school with an intense focus on strength training, conditioning and wrestling technique.
According to team coach George Markle, the Devil Pups’ chances of having several individual state champions are good. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done, especially on the physical fitness side of things.
“They understand that it’s going to be a strict and hard season,” said Markle, who is adamant about his wrestlers improving their physique throughout the season.
Though the team is made up of mostly underclassmen, senior Ethan Skillings is expected to lead the way for the younger wrestlers on the team. A standout football player, Skillings knows to bring that same intensity to the wrestling mat, where he thinks he and his teammates can have success this season.
“I honestly think that we can make the playoffs as a team,” Skillings said. “I want to qualify for states, since it’s my last year. I want to try and help everyone else make it to states for individual as well.”
Two other football players on the wrestling team that Markle is expecting big things out of this season are junior Jacob Livesay and sophomore Alex Suszko.
Joining Markle as coaches this season are Brett Becklund and George Vrachnos, a former Lejeune wrestler who won the 152-pound 1A state title last season.
The Devil Pups’ first match of the season is Dec. 4 at Swansboro High School beginning at 5 p.m.
LHS Wrestling Schedule:
Dec. 4 at Swansboro, 5 p.m.
Dec. 7 at Laney, 9 a.m.
Dec. 17 at Croatan, 6 p.m.
Dec. 19 at East Carteret, 4 p.m.
Dec. 30 at Havelock, 12 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Havelock, 8 a.m.
Jan. 8 at Pender, 6 p.m.
Jan. 14 at Lejeune, 6 p.m.
Jan. 24 at Lejeune, 6 p.m.
Jan. 28 at Trask, 6 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Richlands, 6 p.m. (conference tourney)
Team duals: Feb. 4-8
Individual: Feb. 14-22