By Rob Tetro
The Fulton varsity wrestling team comes into the 2013-14 season with great expectations.
Varsity wrestling coach Chris Stalker said the Red Raiders are hard at work preparing to make a run at both a Section 3 Championship and The Class B State Championship.
However, Stalker is aware of the winning tradition associated with Fulton wrestling. In fact, he suggests the best way to respect the Red Raiders winning tradition is to duplicate it.
“We always want to be one of the top 10 teams in all of New York state,” Stalker said.
Fulton will have its work cut out for it to accomplish those goals. Only a few wrestlers return from last season’s team. For the most part, the Red Raiders are a young and inexperienced squad.
In preparation for the upcoming season, wrestlers have been allowed and encouraged to take part in the morning lift sessions available to them four days a week before school.
Fulton also has a wrestling club in which the school’s wrestlers can participate. The wrestling club is an open mat workout available to The Red Raiders 3 days a week.
Currently, Fulton is in good physical condition, but Stalker said there is room for improvement. On top of the morning workout sessions and the wrestling club, the Red Raiders practice usually lasts 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Stalker said recentl practices have gotten more and more intense. Aided by an additional 30 minutes of conditioning development, the wrestlers are showing they are physical capable of handling more intense practices.
The Red Raiders have not yet named team captains for the upcoming season. The criteria Stalker uses for naming a captain is based on leadership, commitment and initiative.
A wrestler Stalker is considering naming a captain is someone who leads both verbally and with action and makes the most out of every practice — a wrestler who takes advantage of the opportunities that the morning lift sessions and the wrestling club offer is also someone who could be named a captain.
As Stalker assess his teams’ schedule, two opponents immediately stand out — Phoenix and Baldwinsville. Stalker considers those teams to be two of the top teams in all of Section 3.
The Red Raiders will be looking to avenge losses to both schools from last season.
Interestingly enough, Stalker feels his teams’ inexperience can be considered a strength. Thus far, Stalker’s young team has shown development as a result of a lot of hard work and enthusiasm.