By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 18, 2005 2:06 PM
Chris Tesar and eighth-year Eastern Wayne wrestling coach Mike Brown haven't discussed setting goals this season.
Tesar has it all figured out.
"My main goal is to go undefeated until I get to states," said Tesar, a sophomore. "I'm confident, but I'm not too cocky because I know that have a target on my back and everyone is looking to beat me."
Tesar's freshman credentials back up his assurance.
A former Alaska middle school state champion, Tesar compiled an impressive resume a year ago. He claimed the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference and eastern regional titles, and placed fourth overall in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Championships.
Tesar became just the third Eastern Wayne grappler -- and first freshman in county history -- to place in the state finals at 103 pounds. He just missed his bid for the program's first individual title since 1987 when Nick Smith claimed the 4-A gold medal at 119 pounds. Former Warrior standout Philip Ramirez earned the bronze at 119 in 2001.
Tesar also tied the single-season school record for victories by a freshman (45), set by Vincent Ramirez in 2000-01.
"I just wasn't sure about North Carolina wrestling," said Tesar, who recalled riding six hours -- one way -- to matches in Alaska. "Once I got into the season, I got more confident and I wrestled my hardest each match. States was pretty challenging.
"This year I'll be preparing much sooner after finding out how hard the competition is going to be."
That preparation began in the offseason.
Tesar attended camp at Duke and worked with a daily training regimen that included running for stamina/endurance, and weight training to build muscle mass.
"I needed to get stronger and faster," said Tesar. "It's easy to last three and four minutes, but that last period is really hard. Wrestling five matches in a day is really tough."
Tesar learned that lesson first-hand at the state meet last year, and then just recently in the preseason Super 32 Challenge. He competed with 108 other grapplers in the 112-pound class and received a big blow in the opening round.
Tesar lost to a wrestler ranked lower and knew his task of placing had just gotten harder. He rebounded with victories against Chris Stanley (Eden Morehead), Justin Biddle (Liberty Center) and David Goforth (A.C. Reynolds). Mike Garofalo eliminated Tesar in the next round.
"I expected the competition to be extremely high and it was," said Tesar, who finshed 16th overall. "There are so many wrestlers there from different states that you don't much about each person (you wrestle).
"The last match ... I could have beaten him, but I was tired. I learned you need to wrestle the whole match and try to keep the lead. As soon as you get the lead, you need to go defensive."
Tesar prefers getting an early two- or three-point lead and then making the opponent work. That strategy should prove useful again this season since Tesar will see familiar faces at 112 pounds.
He doesn't expect a big difference.
"It's not going to be much of a change and still the same challenge," said Tesar, who doesn't want to settle for fourth place in the state finals this season. "We're just going to be a little heavier. I know how to execute my moves ... be strong, especially with the basics.
"I think it will be a little easier than last year because I know my competition and what to do."
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