The MSOE wrestling team heads into the 2018-19 season with a new head coach and plenty of returners to allow head coach Mike Schmidt to hit the ground running.
Schmidt takes the reigns after five seasons as an assistant, so he will have continuity in spades with 10 returning wrestlers and eight members from the starting lineup. Despite a wealth of returners, the lineup could see some changes with wrestlers moving weight classes.
Sophomore Helton Vandenbush headlines the roster after posting 31 wins and claiming a CCIW Championship at 174 pounds as a freshman. He placed at six other tournaments on the season, including two more first-place finishes, and took fifth at the NCAA Regional Championships. He is expected to move up a class to 184 pounds this year.
Another second-year man, Drew Matticks finished second on the team last season with 22 wins. He was also tied for second with five falls. At 165 pounds, he placed in the top three at four different events, finishing runner-up at his first collegiate tournament and again at the CCIW Championships. He will follow Vandenbush up a weight class, making the leap to 174 pounds.
The Rathburn brothers have been constants in the middle of the lineup in the 149 and 157 classes. Senior Sam Rathburn posted 11 wins last season, including five falls, bouncing between the two weights. He's looking for a home at 165 pounds in his final season. Junior Jack Rathburn has wrestled exclusively at 157 pounds last season after splitting his time as a rookie. He won 10 bouts last season and will continue at 157 pounds.
Two more seniors will bring leadership to the squad in addition to fighting for places in the lineup in Ryan Snyder and Miro Stojanovic. Snyder had his best season in 2017-18 with seven wins between 174 and 184 pounds. He's regularly wrestled up a weight class for the Raider, gradually working up from 165 pounds, but expects to settle at 184 pounds this season where he was the starter last season. Meanwhile, Stojanovic has bounced around weight classes over his first three seasons while battling injuries. With experience over 184, 197, and heavyweight classes, he will look to settle into 197 pounds this season.
Junior Jimmy Cushman and sophomores Duncan Heath and Preston Makoutz also return after being the team's primary competitors at their respective weight last season. Cushman has racked up 45 matches over his first two seasons primarily at 141 pounds but should make the jump to 149 pounds this season. Heath stepped into the 197-pound position and won seven matches in his first season. Makoutz won six times at 133 and will move up to 141 pounds this season.
Junior Evan Carter rounds out the returning wrestlers this season. He's wrestled a weight up early in each of his first two seasons before settling down at 157 and 165 pounds, respectively. He'll look to hit the ground running at 165 pounds this season after winning two matches by fall as a sophomore.
The 2018-19 season is getting off to a later start under Schmidt as the Raiders will head to the mats for the first time Dec. 1 at the 15th Annual MSOE Invitational at Hotchkin Arena.