Gaels will face Clear Lake

CLEAR LAKE – The St. Edmond wrestling team will find out right off the bat how they stack up this winter in the North Central Conference.

The Gaels (0-0 overall, 0-0 in NCC) travel to perennial contender Clear Lake (0-0, 0-0) to being the 2013-14 dual season.

Action starts in the Lion gym with junior varsity matches at 6:30 p.m.. Varsity should begin at 7 p.m.

St. Edmond and second-year head coach Tanner Utley are a little behind the eight-ball, as many members of the roster were part of the state runner-up football team.

“I think we’re ready to get out on the mats, get rolling and see some new competition,” Utley said. “We are in for a big test with Clear Lake and we aren’t at full-capacity, but we want to see the kids give us six hard minutes.”

A trio of Gaels are featured in the inaugural rankings, including No. 1 Vinnie Harvey at 220. Ryan Szalat (113) and Kaden McClintock (120) are both ranked third.

All three were state placewinners last year, as Harvey finished fourth, McClintock sixth and Szalat seventh.

Entering this year, Harvey owns a career record of 120-20, while McClintock is 107-12. Szalat has won 66 matches. They all picked up over 40 wins last year, including 70 by pin.

McClintock, though, will not be in the lineup this evening as he battles minor injuries. Senior Jimmy Averill is also out for the time being.

“Hopefully we will have both of them back soon,” Utley said. “It’s a matter of getting them fully healthy so that we don’t have any serious injuries down the road.”

Clear Lake, coached by veteran Gary Weber, boasts four rated wrestlers. Andres Gonzalez is third at 138, Ryan Schmalen is No. 4 at 113, Connor Nosbisch is fifth at 182 and Brennan Doebel is No. 6 at 106.

Schmalen finished fourth for the Lions last winter at state, while Gonzalez placed fifth. Nosbisch went 0-2 as a qualifier.

Clear Lake was third at the NCC tournament with three champions, while the Gaels were sixth – also with three individual winners.

Schmalen and Szalat met in the 106-pound conference finals, with the Lion scoring a decision victory.