Tubbs takes over Janesville Parker wrestling
Tubbs has the difficult job of replacing Janesville icon Ron Cramer, who was the head coach of the Vikings for 42 years before announcing his retirement late in the school year.
Tubbs, who was Cramer’s top assistant for several seasons, takes over for a man whose teams won 23 Big Eight dual championships, 29 conference tournament titles, 17 WIAA regional team trophies and two sectionals. Cramer also produced 135 individual conference champions and 68 state qualifiers, including 30 place-winners.
Tubbs begins the new wrestling season with 14 returning Vikings heading his first class.
“I feel pretty good about the whole team,” Tubbs said. “We have three spots that are open, but we have guys that can fill the holes.’’
The Vikings open the season at 10 a.m. Saturday hosting the Janesville Parker Invitational.
Returning wrestlers include, junior Haley Hedgecock at 113 pounds and sophomore Dai Van Vance-Jenkins at 132.
Tubbs thinks Vance-Jenkins brings energy to 132.
“He’s pretty exciting to watch,” Tubbs said. “He’s explosive and has good instincts.’’
Hedgecock begins her third season, and Tubbs thinks she can make an impact.
“She’s gone to national tournaments,” Tubbs said. “She has experience, and she is pretty good out on the mat.’’
Three candidates fill the 120-pound weight class. They are Mitchel Henneman, Caleb Turner and Chad Thurs.
Austin Kessler, Julio Sanchez and Jovanni Sanchez will compete for the varsity spot at the 138-pound weight class.
Tubbs said there is spirited competition at 138 pounds.
“I like what I see in practice,” Tubbs said of Kessler and the Sanchezes.
Kessler showed his mettle last season wrestling former state champion Siven Furseth, a Craig graduate.
“Austin made it to the second period with (Siven) Furseth,” Tubbs said. “We were pretty impressed. Going against a monster, he didn’t roll over and die.’’
Matt Pakes, a junior, returns and wrestles at 145. He will be pushed by sophomore Sean Smith.
Pakes enjoyed a 20-win season at 140. Tubbs believes Pakes can be just as strong at 145.
Brandon Fryda, a junior, wrestles at 160.
At the upper weights, senior Matt Higgenbotham is at 170. Reynaldo Bautista, a senior, is at 195.
Kevin Bell, a senior, and Scott Van Der Haegen, a sophomore, are competing at 220.
Tyler Jelinek, a junior, fills the 285-pound weight.
“We definitely have some strength in the upper weights,” Tubbs said. “Higgenbotham provides leadership. Baptista is very strong, and should be fun to watch.”
Tubbs needs to fill the 126-, 152- and 182-pound weight classes.
The Parker schedule:
December: 3—Parker Invitational. 8—Whitewater. 9—Beloit Memorial. 10—Edgerton High Invitational. 16—Sun Prairie. 28-29—At Whitewater Invitational.
January: 6—At Madison La Follette. 7—At Delavan-Darien. 13—At Madison East. 14—At Elkhorn. 21—Madison Memorial, Madison West, Middleton Verona at Middleton. 26—At Janesville Craig.
February: 4—Big Eight Conference meet at Madison West. 11—At Stoughton. 14—Team sectionals at Craig. 18—Team sectionals at Sun Prairie. 23-25—WIAA individual state meet.
March: 2-3—WIAA team state meet.