Madison senior wrestler Jordan Partee (above), a state finals qualifier last season, will move up to 160 pounds this season. “Jordan is such a natural athlete but I think it comes so natural we are not getting everything we can out of him. Jordan is a state placer and it’s our job as coaches to make sure he is always pushing himself to improve.”<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Madison coach Tyson Skinner (Courier file photo)
Madison senior wrestler Jordan Partee (above), a state finals qualifier last season, will move up to 160 pounds this season. “Jordan is such a natural athlete but I think it comes so natural we are not getting everything we can out of him. Jordan is a state placer and it’s our job as coaches to make sure he is always pushing himself to improve.”



Madison coach Tyson Skinner (Courier file photo)
The Madison Wrestling Cubs enter the 2013-2014 season with higher expectations than in past years.

The Cubs, who finished 16-15 last season but pulled off two top-five finishes in strong 16-team tourneys, are looking to reach the 20-win mark for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.

With no seniors on last year's team, Madison looks to have a solid squad returning. The only weakness could be a lack of depth at the lower weight division - 106 pounds, 113 and 120 - as well as the squad's lack of a true heavyweight.

Incoming freshman Trenton Anderson will be taking the mat at 106 pounds but the Cubs will likely have to forfeit 113 and 120 due to a lack of bodies in those divisions.

"(The) last couple years we have had some really talented lightweights but we have always been thin at those weights," Madison coach Tyson Skinner said. "Coming into the season we had names for those weights but they never materialized into actual wrestlers in the room. (We're) hoping some motivated individuals will decide to come out and help us in those two weights."

Heavyweight is another concern but only because Madison's wrestler at that weight coming into the first meet could possibly be giving up some serious weight to opponents as the maximum weight for the class is 285 pounds.

Junior Tanner Geer and freshmen Marcus Schoonover and Raymond Clutter will be battling it out at the two upper weights this year for the Cubs but neither of the three comes anywhere close to 285 pounds.

"We have three guys that are all very capable wrestlers but all of them are true 220-pounders," Skinner said. "One of them will be stepping up for us every match big time."

Madison will look to send multiple wrestlers to the state finals for the first time in over 10 years. Seniors Jordan Partee, a previous state qualifier, and Mitchell Sandlin are both ranked in the preseason polls.

Partee, ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll and a state qualifier a year ago at 152 pounds, will make the move up to 160 after a one-point loss in the opening round last year to the eventual fourth place finisher. An athletic freak of nature on any field he competes on, Partee is looking for a podium finish in his final season at Madison.

"Jordan is such a natural athlete but I think it comes so natural we are not getting everything we can out of him," Skinner said. "Jordan is a state placer and it's our job as coaches to make sure he is always pushing himself to improve."

Sandlin, a two time semistate qualifier begins the season ranked 15th. Sandlin will also be moving up from 182 in 2012-13 to 195 pounds this season.

"Mitchell talked early on about wanting to go 182 again but after we talked I think he will be happy he decided not to try to drop to 182," Skinner said. "He had a very strong offseason and earned All-American status down at Disney duals along with Jordan."

Madison also returns another semistate qualifier from last year's team, junior Chris Tingle at 138 pounds. Tingle moved up a weight class from 132 to 138 after fellow Cub Hunter Stivers went down with an injury during a magical run that saw the sixth-seeded Stivers advance all the way to semistate.

"Chris was one of those wrestlers that has all the tools but never can get them all going at the right time and then something clicked and he put everything together and it was awesome," Skinner said.

The Cubs also have three regional qualifiers who will be battling in the varsity lineup again this year. Juniors Chayce Young, Trenton Dempler and Tanner Young all return and are looking for their spots in the lineup. Chayce Young most likely will see action at 126 while Dempler will move up to 132 and Tanner Young will be moving up from 160 to 170 this year.

"These three guys are very typical of our junior class," Skinner said. "They are all hard workers and love to take a challenge head-on. I look for very long runs out of these guys."

Madison will open its season tonight by hosting Batesville at 6 p.m. and then be back on the mats Friday to host a quad dual meet with Greensburg, Switzerland County and Shawe with wrestling again starting at 6 p.m.