“We look to vie for a conference title,” the second-year said. “We want to be able to compete with the top 10 teams in the state.”
Datema already has one wrestler who has competed at the highest level, as returning state champion Kenneth Dittenber is back to defend his 103-pound state title in Division 4.
Datema is wanting to improve the 16-12 record in dual meets his team had last season. He also wants to “take several kids to the state finals,” he said.
Besides Dittenber, some of those wrestlers who are to watch are Garner Cusack, Eric Ward, Darrin Decker and Dillan Decker.
“Cusack will be a strong sophomore,” Datema said. “Ward was a regional qualifier last year. Ward motivates teammates and inspires younger wrestlers. Darren Decker and Dillan Decker are both talented freshmen. These kids have a bright future and are key to keep an eye on.”
Datema calls this team “hard-working kids. They are a great bunch of kids and really gel as a team.”
As far as whether the Eagles can compete for the top spot in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, Datema believes so.
“I think we have potential to win the conference this year,” he said.
That would mean beating Dansville, who is ranked seventh in the state in Division 4 in the pre-season michigangrappler.com rankings.
Carson City-Crystal has two home dates this season. The first is Dec. 21 with a quadrangular, with the other being Jan. 24 in a conference triangular.
The season starts Dec. 7 for the Eagles when they go to Belding for a non-conference quadrangular. They head to the Tri County Invitational Dec. 10 and go to Grandville Calvin Christian for a quad Dec. 14.