Sutter passes 100 career wins as Frias nears mark heading into NWA Tournament
Athletics - posted on 2/8/2010
Senior Adam Sutter is proud of eclipsing 100 career wins as a member of the Lakeland wrestling team, but the reason might come as a surprise.
Sutter, a 2008-09 All-American who competes in the heavyweight
division, became the first wrestler in school history to reach No. 100 when he pinned John Carroll's Alec Barker at the Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational on Jan. 30. The Gladstone, Mich., native didn't downplay the feat's significance, saying it was more than just another individual honor.
"It's really just a number," said Sutter, who is currently ranked sixth in his weight class by d3wrestle.com. "It's not so much important for me as it is for the team. Hopefully the younger guys can look at it as a milestone to shoot for … it means as much to the program as it does to me."
Teammate Jake Frias, a senior captain, is nearing the 100-win plateau. The Oak Lawn, Ill., native picked up his 97th career victory last
Friday in the Muskies' dual win at MSOE.
Frias, a 165-pounder who recorded his first collegiate tournament victory on Dec. 5 at the MSOE Invite, has a chance to get No. 100 at this Saturday's Northern Wrestling Association Tournament, which begins at 11 a.m. in Milwaukee.
"If you would have told me my freshman year that I'd have a shot at 100 career wins, I would have said you were crazy," Frias said. "It's a big achievement, but it's just a number right now … hopefully this sets the bar for the younger guys.
"I had to take a lot of losses to get the wins, but I learned a lot in the losses."
Lakeland coach Pete Rogers had plenty to say about the impact of both Sutter and Frias on the program.
"I'm excited as a coach, because these guys have had great careers, not just one great season," said Rogers, who is in his ninth season as head coach. "Nobody else has gotten there in our program's history."
Sutter and Frias, along with fellow senior Ben Chapman, serve as the backbone of a Lakeland team that has yet to be at full strength this season.
Both are confident about where the team is at with the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional just under two weeks away.
"The team is in a good spot right now," Sutter said. "We've had guys missing for numerous reasons, so we haven't been 100 percent yet. The postseason is our focus now … several of our guys know they have a good chance at going to nationals."
Frias pointed to the team's performance at the Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational on Jan. 29-30 as a sign of big things to come. The Muskies finished 13th in a deep 30-team field.
"We're coming together," Frias said. "We had a good weekend at Wheaton with four guys placing. That's a tough Division III tournament, so it was incredible to have that many guys finish in the top eight. Hopefully our younger guys got the taste of a big-time tournament."
Sutter (19-2) is gunning for his second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. He earned All-America status by placing sixth in last year's event. Sutter is also a two-time NWA champion.
"Sutter's had a huge impact on the program," Rogers said. "He worked hard as a backup his freshman year, finished second in the conference and helped our starter get better. He could have started at a lot of other places.
"He's a leader by example and a great competitor. Mentally, he is going in the right direction … his 100 wins came as a result of setting his mind to other goals and accomplishments."
Frias currently leads the team with a 28-8 record. He finished as the NWA runner-up last season.
According to Rogers, Frias altered his wrestling style prior to the season, and has reaped the benefits of the adjustment.
"Jake's a hard worker," Rogers said. "When he came in, he did a lot of work in the weight room, and that separated him from others. Now he's added conditioning and technical skills to his strength. He changed this year to become technically better, which says a lot about him."
How Frias and Sutter will finish their final seasons remains to be seen, but this much is sure: both wrestlers have carved a permanent legacy that will set a standard for Lakeland wrestlers to come.
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