With winter quickly approaching, a new season of sports is also underway.
For CCSJ, that means men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling are in full effect.
While these sports have hit the ground running in their preseason, The Shavings had the chance to take a closer look at the changes coming for these winter sports teams.
Twelve players will be returning to the men’s basketball team this season and after a third place finish in the CCAC last year.
So what will it take to get the team to win a championship?
“A lot of things go into being a championship caliber team. We have to embrace the process of getting better every day and continue to come together as a group,” said head coach Ryan Sexson. “We play in a very good conference and every game in our league is a tough one. If we can stay healthy and continue to grow then we will give ourselves a chance to be there in the end.”
Senior Tyler Gaedele said if anybody can make CCSJ a great team, it’s Coach Sexson.
“He is a defensive minded coach and has a great defensive system,” Gaedele said. “If we all buy into his system defensively and we’re in the right spots we’re supposed to be in, we will yet again be in the top three best defenses in the conference like Calumet College of St. Joseph has the past five to six seasons under coach.”
With 10 new recruits piling on the wrestling mats, Coach Ryan Rivera shares his strategy when looking for new team members.
“The biggest thing I look for in a recruit is passion for the sport. College wrestling is one of the toughest and most grueling sports so they have really to love it to be successful at this level. The second thing is academic success because it doesn’t matter how good they are if they can’t get on the mat because of academic issues,” Rivera said. “I intentionally try to recruit a diverse group of kids from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
When asked about what his hopes were for the outcome of the season, Coach Rivera responds, “I want us to be able to build on some of the individual success with better team results. So winning more dual meets this year and finishing top three at Regional’s and top 20 at National’s as a team. Also, one of our goals every year is to be able to have an individual national champion. We had the school’s first NAIA All-American a few years ago now we want to have the school’s first national champion.”
Senior captain and national qualifier Scott Pitrowski shared this advice for his underclassmen team members as their season approaches.“Don’t tell yourself there is always next year. Don’t wait for others before you start giving it your all. You only get four years of competition and they will be gone before you know it. If you can find that mindset and work hard from day one, success will be in your future.”
After finishing the season at 0-19 in the conference last year, women’s head basketball Coach Steve Helm has pushed himself and his girls this preseason to make sure the outcome is different this year.
“This season, I have incorporated our strength and conditioning program. Last season we did not have one because I was hired a couple weeks before the season started. I believe along with recruiting 12 new players and the pre-season program will help us be more competitive in the CCAC.”
Senior Captain Brittni Kisul is one of only two returners this season. Her end goal for her team this season is to make it in the playoffs.
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Calumet College of St. Joseph
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