ROBBINSVILLE: Strong duo lead Raven wrestlers

By Bob Nuse, The Packet Group
   The Robbinsville High School wrestling team begins the season with a pair of cornerstone wrestlers that any program would love to have on their roster.
   And with plenty of other talented wrestlers filling out the roster the Ravens have high hopes for the season, which began when they competed in the TCNJ Pride Tournament last weekend. The tournament is unique in that the teams involved are coached by TCNJ wrestling alumni.
   Robbinsville will be led by seniors Chris Tan and Tyler Gildner, who are coming off junior seasons in which they were district champions. The two wrestlers are also on pace to possibly become the first Ravens to win 100 matches. Both have been wrestling with the varsity since they were freshmen and will lead the way for the Ravens.
   ”We should be pretty solid up and down the lineup,” Robbinsville coach Rich Gildner said. “We’re bringing back two district champs with Chris Tan and Tyler Gildner. Tyler has 67 wins and Chris has 76 wins. So they both have a shot at 100 wins which we have not had in the program.
   ”They are both captains. Chris Tan been a captain since he was a sophomore. He is the kind of kid that everything he does he does the right way. That is good for our younger guys. We have a good sophomore class. There are no superstars but we have a bunch of kids that are solid and have some experience. They can look up to the older guys in the room.”
   Nick Bossie and Chase Haeuptie are seniors with plenty of varsity experience. The Ravens also have several wrestlers who got varsity experience a year ago. Sophomores Dylan James, Anthony Lettera, Elijah McNeil, Kevin Jacoutot, Derek Sanders, Jake Cox, Sean Tonry and Colin Yurcisin all saw some action on the mat last year and will be counted on to contribute a bit more this year. Logan Fox is a freshman who should be in the lineup at 106 this season.
   ”We have had some scrimmages and we’ve been pretty happy,” Gildner said. “The kids have done stuff in the offseason and we went to tournaments. We’re pretty excited to see what they can do. We have the potential to achieve things that are comparable with what we have done in the past.”
   With a relatively young lineup this season, the Ravens will look to be competitive as well as build for the future at the same time.
   ”It is a positive and a negative,” Gildner said. “You always want seniors and juniors in leadership roles that have been through the wars. But we also have sophomores getting experience and that helps.”
   As it has the last few years, Robbinsville will once again be the host site for the Mercer County Tournament as well as the region tournament this year.
   ”It is a lot of work but to me it is worth it for the kids,” Gildner said. “When you are in your own gym and your own locker room you are more comfortable and relaxed. You’re not spending all the time driving to get there. I like it for the kids and the comfort level.
   ”What makes it easier for us is that we have so many great volunteers who help put the whole thing together. They do a great job and make the tournaments run so well.”