Caleb Kreitter is a wrestling hybrid.
The Hough High junior has lived most of his life in North Carolina and started wrestling as a 4-year- old. But the three years his family spent in Minnesota helped provide a different brand of wrestling training that he believes made him a dual threat on the mat.
“In this area (North Carolina), wrestling is more about technique and using moves,” said Kreitter, who finished third at the state championship tournament last year. “In the Midwest, it’s a lot of grind-it-out and see who’s tougher kind of thing. I think I’m a mix of both, after living in both places. It’s part of my success, being able to mix that toughness and technique.”
February is championship month in high school wrestling and in the next few weeks Kreitter hopes he can win his first individual state championship and help Hough advance deep in the state dual-team tournament.
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Hough will host the 4A West individual regional tournament on Feb. 12-13. Kreitter hopes to defend the regional title he won last year and several Huskies teammates wish to compete for titles as well.
Hough will also be defending the team points championship it won at regionals in 2015. The first round of the 4A state dual-team tournament will be Feb. 2.
Kreitter is in hot pursuit of the state individual championship that eluded him last year. He lost in the state semifinals to Hopewell’s Esco Walker, then won his consolation match to finish in third place.
This season, Kreitter won his first 42 matches and is performing at the top of his game. It should be no surprise, given his wrestling background.
Kreitter began wrestling with Titan Wrestling Academy youth program in Huntersville before he started kindergarten. Within a couple years, his father, who wrestled scholastically in Minnesota, became one of the program’s coaches.
The Kreitter family moved to Crosby, Minn., prior to his seventh-grade year. Before they left, Kreitter attended a team wrestling camp at Virginia Tech with some other current and future Hough wrestlers.
Minnesota allows middle-schoolers to compete in varsity high school wrestling and Kreitter competed for his dad’s old high school. He qualified for the state championship meet in two consecutive years and placed fourth as a freshman.
By the time he returned to Hough, Kreitter was a polished competitor. Last year, he defeated Walker in Hough’s regular season match against Hopewell, lost to him at the conference tournament, and defeated him again at regionals. This year, Walker continues to wrestle at 113 pounds while Kreitter bumped up to 120.
“(Kreitter) stays in good positions,” said Hough coach Tripp Rogers. “He attacks nonstop, he moves on the bottom, he’s real tough on top. He starts running away with matches. He’s tough to score on because he says in good position. When he’s on top he just hammers people.”
Kreitter credits a couple of his practice partners for some of his success: junior Dylan Boone and sophomore Carson Pervier. Boone, a 113-pounder, had a record of 30-11 heading into the team’s regular season finale with Vance on Jan. 27, which was the second most wins on the team.
Boone won two private school state championships at SouthLake Christian Academy before transferring and can be a contender with Hough. Rogers says he “has a tireless work ethic and sets high goals for himself.”
Pervier, a 132-pounder, had a 25-14 record, and was one of several Huskies who Rogers says “have a chance to reach the state tournament and make some noise.” Others include juniors Sam Russ (138 pounds, 23-12) and Mitchell Newell (152, 21-11), freshman Sam Westmoreland (106, 20-17), and sophomore heavyweight Tripp Foscue (285, 20-14).
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.