Springer places second at Milford Invitational

MILFORD – As you can expect from a team with as much youth and inexperience as Lake Forest’s roster currently has, the Spartans’ have had some growing pains early on in the 2016 wrestling season.

But following this past weekend’s Milford Invitational, head coach Mike Hansen appears to be pleased with the direction that his young squad is going in.

“Overall we did pretty good,” Hansen said. “I believe we placed about sixth place out of the 13 teams that came here today. I think Milford was the only Division II teams higher than us, all the other teams are D-I. So that’s pretty good for such a young group like we have here today. We still have some guys who need to get into certain weight classes.”

Of 14 weight classes, only one wrestler found himself in the championship of his respective weight class at the two-day tournament.

Senior Jordan Springer, one of the more experienced leaders of the squad, went head-to-head with Milford’s Bryan Wynes in the 285-pound weight class final. While he ended up losing in a 5-0 decision, he finished the highest for the Spartans Saturday evening.

“I knew he was a tough kid,” Springer said of Wynes heading into the evening’s final match.

Lake Forest senior Jordan Springer placed second in the 285-pound weight class in Saturday’s Milford Invitational (The Journal/Ben Heck).

Although a second-place finish is respectable, Springer wasn’t satisfied with being runner-up.

“I think we did alright,” Springer said of his team’s performance. “I think as a team we have to work on our lightweights. Individually, I just need to get some more takedowns.”

While the senior is trying to take some of the younger wrestlers under his wing and help guide them in the right direction, it’s sometimes hard when you’re in a different weight class.

“Yeah, I’m trying to,” Springer said when asked about leading the less-experienced wrestlers. “It’s sometimes hard because some of our younger guys are lighter weight. So I don’t really want to give them a heavyweight technique if they’re not heavyweights.”

The good news taken from the Milford Invitational? It’s progress and improvement.

“Improvement from our last tournament and our last dual-meet with Cape,” Hansen said. “That’s all it’s going to be, just get one percent better. That’s kind of our motto. We’re just focusing on the process, and getting one percent better in everything we do. We just have to stay on that path.”

On Dec. 3, Lake Forest finished 10th out of 13 teams at the Polytech Invitational. And four days later the Spartans lost at Cape Henlopen 66-6.

“Better in practice every day,” Hansen said. “And then at the event ‘let’s do a little bit better than the previous event.’ That’s going to be our approach. You try to build up as the year goes, so that you’re peaking towards the end of the year.”

The beautiful thing about the sport of high school wrestling is the only match you absolutely need to place first in is the last one. The state championship. That is Coach Hansen’s end goal.

Sports editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com

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