WATERFORD-There is plenty of reason for optimism in Waterford as head coach Scott Zimmer prepares his young team for the 2011-12 wrestling season.
Not only are the Wildcats about to move into their brand new wrestling facility at Waterford High School, but Zimmer is seeing the numbers improve each year with more and more talented athletes participating in the wrestling program.
Zimmer will have some big shoes to fill this year as he will need to replace three excellent wrestlers who graduated from last year's team in Dean Miller, Billy Crock, and Brandon Bauerbach.
This year's Wildcat team will consist of three seniors as well, two of whom saw injuries hamper their 2010-11 season. Hunter Slotterback suffered a late season injury that forced him to miss the districts.
"Hunter was really disappointed that he got hurt last year," said Zimmer. "He is really itching to get back at it."
Senior Travis Efaw also suffered an injury that cost him time in his junior campaign after qualifying for the districts and he has some healthy goals for the upcoming season.
"Travis really wants to make it to state," said Zimmer. "He believes that he can get there and I believe he can as well."
The third senior on the Waterford roster is first year wrestler Zack Graham. The injury bug that shadowed the Wildcats last year has already resurfaced early this year as junior Hunter Munjas is currently nursing a broken thumb. Munjas had a successful sophomore campaign, posting a winning record in what was his first year in wrestling.
"He (Munjas) really wrestled very well last year in his first year out," said Zimmer, hoping that the thumb injury will only cost Munjas a brief amount of time. "He showed a lot of potential."
The sophomore class may be the class to keep an eye on as it features among others, Austin Lang.
Lang comes from a long tradition of Langs who have been very successful in Wildcat wrestling.
"Austin should be really good this year," said Zimmer. " We are going to expect quite a bit from him."
Brice Miller is another first year wrestler who has really impressed his head coach in preseason practice.
"He's (Miller) very athletic," said Zimmer of his sophomore, who should wrestle in the 152 to 160 weight class. "He's coming along really fast."