T he Golden Horde wrestling team has big goals for the upcoming season, including taking back the Wasaren League title and winning both of the tournaments it will host this season.
In his 11th year, head coach Steve Palmer said he likes the makeup of this team.
“We have a veteran team, but it’s still a little mixed. We’re going to have to fill in some holes with some new guys this year,” Palmer said. “I think this team is bringing the most experience in a team in a couple of years since the 2007 season, but I think the holes that we have will be very well filled by the personnel we have.”
Roster holes, however, are what will make the difference with some of last year’s best teams — Tamarac in the Wasaren and Corinth in Class C losing important wresters they probably can’t replace with the same caliber wrestler, Palmer said.
The Wasaren watch starts in Hoosic Falls with a team Palmer describes as “up and coming” and unexpectedly good, but edged by Horde veterans. In last year’s Wasaren champion Tamarac Bengals, Palmer said, he sees a team with keys losses that will cost it head-to-head.
“Both of those teams will be very dangerous and we can’t let our guard down around them,” Palmer said.
Granville garnered the most league all-stars of any team last season, six, and five of those will suit up again this season. That level of experience will pay dividends for Granville, Palmer said.
With a “pin to win” team philosophy, Palmer said, he counts on those five wrestlers to account for wins in one third of the 15 weight classes and significant team points (30 – with six for each pin) and an instant hole for the other teams to have to try to climb out of for a head-to-head win.
“We’re a pinning team; I think we’re going to win a lot of matches that way,” Palmer said.
Last season Granville put one wrestler, Karl Palmer, in the state championship tournament and had Eric Hastings coming up just short of garnering a wild card bid. Hastings is motivated and knows what he needs to do to get to the goal of all wrestlers, the coach said.
Palmer said Kurt Ehntholt and Brendan Miller also have great chances of going to the tournament either as a champion or a wild card qualifier.
Granville’s sole entrant into the state championship last season, the oldest son of the coach, looks to eclipse the record for school wrestling wins set by standout Mark Sabo of 144 career wins; Karl Palmer currently sits at 139 victories.
Granville will host the Wasaren League Invitational Tournament this season and the first year of the newly renamed Ken Harrison Memorial Tournament sponsored by the Granville Lions Club.
The tournament, formerly known as the Lions Tournament, was renamed to honor the longtime wrestling coach following his untimely passing.
Golden Horde to do list in 2011:
Take back the Wasaren League crown (Tamarac eked title with a head-to head win)
Get new wrestlers to the States (one last year)
Return wrestler to the States (Karl Palmer)
Win the Class C tournament (Second last season)
Set most wins record (Karl Palmer is five short at the start of the season)