Veteran wrestlers optimistic outlook

LEROY -- Larry Kissinger is a senior who plans on scoring plenty of points for the Pine River Bucks wrestling team this season.

He’s at 145 pounds this winter, the same as last year, He went to the state finals in 2011 but not 2012.

“Last season I thought went pretty good,” he said. “There’s a lot of improvement as always. I had a tough year with tough guys. I think it will make me better this year.”

Kissinger did an extensive amount of wrestling during the offseason to get ready for this year. He was at the Central Michigan University camp, among other activities.

He’s hoping to improve on using his feet this season and putting opponents on their back.

“It’s my last year so I want to wrestle as tough as I can and keep the team going with leadership,” he said.

Qualifying for state will be a major Kissinger goal, along with placing in the top eight.

“I’m hoping to get good with takedowns and a lot of reversals,” he said. “I’m trying to move on my feet more and be lighter on my feet.”

The Bucks are off to a high-flying start in their conference.

They also finished third Saturday in the Upper Peninsula at the 20-team Marquette invitational.

Another key wrestler for the Bucks will be Cason Rawson, a senior, who is in his third varsity season.

“I had a really good season last year,” Rawson said.

“It started out a little slow. I was in real good shape. Toward the end of the year, I started getting in a lot better shape.

Working on bottom was a bad thing. (Being in better shape) helped me on the bottom and getting escapes.”

Rawson will be at 152 and 160 this season.

“I love that class,” he said.

“I want to place top four this year in the state,” he said.

“I’d like to have 10 losses or less and more than 40 wins, just have a good senior season.

I still have to learn to work on bottom and a little bit on my feet. I’m strong on my feet right now. I need to work on getting out a little better.”

Rawson went to the state finals last year but didn’t place. It’s a scenario he hopes to change this year.

“If we can stop getting injuries, we’ll have a good solid lineup,” Rawson said.