Buies Creek biggest Camel spits truths and stockpiles talent, more guys better than advertised, and a trip for a quick Fall fling, au natural.
10 questions for Scotti Sentes, Campbell
•1. The oldest saying in coaching is “don’t replace a legend, replace the guy who replaced the legend”. Walk us through replacing a legend (Cary Kolat) at Campbell, and if it’s different for you, why is it different?
•”Every head coaches mission should be to leave the program better than it was found. There is no doubt Cary left Campbell better than he found it. My goal and responsibility is to continue raising the bar and elevate the program to new heights. The starting point may be different than when Cary started but the trajectory must remain.”
•2. What makes you smile the most about Campbell, and why?
•”The people, relationships and community at Campbell are what makes this place special. We have Professors who stop by practice to watch and who our guys have strong relationships with. The local gas station clerk and the restaurant (staff) know our guys by name. “Southern Hospitality” really is a thing but it cannot be explained until you have spent some time in Buies Creek. The people here will do anything and everything to make sure you are taken care of. It is a true community that is special to be a part of”.
•3. Can you address the importance of the modern blend of in room talent and results with outreach across all media platforms?
•”The number one mission at Campbell is the development of our student-athletes but getting the right people involved in the program helps expedite this development. I am talking recruits, donors, fans and supporters. They each play an important role in our effectiveness in developing our guys.
The only way to find people and get them interested and involved is to make sure they see and understand what our program is about, why it is special, and why they should want to be a part of it.
Marketing is the best way to draw eyes toward the program and share the value of being a part of our program and the lives of the student athletes here. When you are having program success it is a lot easier to market to and reach these people.”
•4. Besides more wins, more tournament placings and more NCAA qualifiers, what are the metrics that will define success for Campbell this season?
•”Everything we do here is about culture and everyone doing the little things the right way especially when met with adversity.
The start of our season this year is the toughest it has ever been. We wrestle three Top 25 teams in duals and compete in NC States WolfPack Open in the first three weekends of our schedule.
How we face and respond to these challenges will be important. We made our greatest improvements after wrestling Virginia Tech last season.
We will know where we stand after the first three weeks of our season and then we will not have any competition for about a month. That month will be used to build on our strengths and (improve our) weaknesses and help our athletes widen or close the gap.
Where our athletes stand after that month of development heading into Midlands will be very important specifically for RPI (1) and rankings purposes.”
•5. Campbell has become a national brand. Is there a time frame for consideration of a new conference? If yes, which would be your preference and why? Or, do you always see the Camels as a SoCon power?
•”I have not heard any talk about Campbell switching conferences. The SoCon has continued to add schools with Presbyterian and Bellarmine joining and other programs in the conference are getting better.
My personal preference would be to combine with the ACC but I do not know how viable that option is or if the other schools in the SoCon would want to do that.”
•6. Tell us who your best wrestler(s) is/are, someone who will suprise us this year, and one secret that makes Campbell special.
•”We have seven returning NCAA qualifiers in Zurich Storm, Korbin Meink, Josh Heil, Austin Murphy, Caleb Hopkins, Chris Kober and Taye Ghadiali.
In terms of surprises I know it’s cliche but I honestly think we have a full lineup of them. Once I see them put the singlet on and compete the first weekend I’ll send an updated answer for you.”
•7. Is this the season the SoCon puts more than one or two guys on the podium at the NCAAs, and if so, how much better would it be for more than one or two teams to be represented?
•”This season definitely looks better on paper for the SoCon as opposed to other years but time will tell. I would love to see the SoCon do well at the NCAAs and continue to strengthen. We need to qualify more spots for the conference and qualify more guys for the big show.”
•8. You have both the Midlands Tournament and the Southern Scuffle on your schedule. Why are you returning to Chattanooga and is this a split squad situation for one or both tournaments?
•”Split squad situation. I wanted to be able to pay more for my athletes to compete at high level events like the Midlands and the Southern Scuffle, particularly at some of the weights we are deep in. Since it is on the schedule we can pay to get these guys out there to compete.
This also gives me flexibility to pick and choose which event is better for each of my starters in consideration of the field and timing of the event.”
•9. Where do you send your visitors for good food?
•”Anything BBQ in North Carolina is a hit. Put barbecue into your maps on your phone, close your eyes, and pick.”
•10. Last words, your words…why Campbell?
•”School, wrestling, and brotherhood. If those are the three things you value most and you do not care for the distractions-Campbell is a great place.”
THANK YOU, Coach Sentes, and for more fun Campbell stuff see this seasons columns 4, 13, 14, and 19.
Overlooked and Underrated, 141lbs: Angelo Martinoni, Cal St. Bakersfield
Father Martinoni, bless the author, for he has sinned. He HAD originally picked Columbias Matt Kazimir, but Kazimirs currently not rostered.(2) THEN the author looked longingly at Malyke Hines of Lehigh, but he is listed by his school at 133. Forgive the author, Father Martinoni, for he apparently truly does not know of what he does. And Angelo would be as cool as the other side of the pillow with that. As cool as that time he pinned Navonte Demison in 16 seconds. Don’t forget about Martinonis five bonus wins, double digit victories redshirt season, either, or his each-year finish in odd numbers at the PAC-12 Championships. How about that W over two time All American Tariq “the Freak” Wilson at the Southern Scuffle? So Martinoni isn’t much above .500 overall. Meh. He’s tough, smart (an Electrical Engineering Major) and he wins when it counts. There’s two guys in his conference ranked Top 10 with 5 NCAA qualifying seasons and 3 PAC 12 titles between them. MEH. Martinoni gets HIS third NCAA season this year, his first 20 plus wins campaign, and a lot higher finish than where he’s starting.
All Overlooked and Underrated,197lbs: Jake Koser, Navy
Why the guy who went 0-2 at NCAAs last year? Who’s never beaten E.I.W.A. top dog, two time All American, two time E.I.W.A. Champ Ben Darmstadt? Who’s lost his last two matches to Armys J.T. Brown? What makes Navy Junior Jake Koser the pick here? Glad you asked. Short answer: Navy Head Coach Cary Kolat. Longer, perhaps as accurate and hopefully more interesting answer: Kosers been a starter since year one for the Mids at a grown man weight class. Hasn’t missed a beat, either, going 21-9 out the box with multiple podium placings and an All Academy Tournament title. Two wins in two years over last season’s conference champ, the since departed Jake Jakobsen of Lehigh. NO bad losses last season and near none his first year, last year of Joel Sharratts tenure as Navy Coach. The arrival of Cary Kolat and his immediate effect on the Navy team cannot be overstated. It’s the Bear Bryant effect. It was said of Bryants coaching ability that “he could take his and beat yours, and he could take yours and beat his.” Koser will improve exponentially from this, from the presence of star sophomore 184lb David Key and tough hvt. John Birchmeier, among many others, to bang with, and a telling truth. Kosers never beaten Cornells uber-talented Darmstadt because they haven’t wrestled…yet. Something has to give and for those two it could happen many times starting early December at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Tournament. Then, there’s the dual meet in Ithaca late January and the E.I.W.A. Tournament, early March, also on Cornell’s home mats. There may be a “Showdown with J.T. Brown” at The Midlands Tournament, as Armys double tough 197 looks to make it three straight over Koser. Bet this, though. There WILL be a throwdown and there WILL be fireworks between these two at the annual Star Match. YO. Koser may very well not climb the podium in Detroit, but that will be the only one you won’t see him on this season.
Finding Fall Fun, Natural State Style
While Mother Nature has delayed her annual color show nationwide, Northwest Arkansas is most always a good bet for leaf peeping in mid to late October. You can get there in a days drive from a good chunk of the Central and South U.S. and there’s more than a few tucked away places to enjoy. The Scribe and Bride took a full day trip for the first overnight out of state stay in over two years and it was worth the wait. Many old style cabins dot the states Boston Mountains range and once there you will find a calming beauty, clean air, very friendly hosts and a wide range of parks, trails, and overlooks. You could easily spend a few days, a week, or longer and enjoy a different outdoor setting each time. The World Famous Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas’ highest point, is close by. The visually arresting trails and easily reached peaks at Devils Den State Park are especially good for family members of the two and four footed variety. You can spend an early morning catching the sunrise from your back porch rocking bench at the Sky Vue Lodge. Your Grandparents could have been some of its first guests when it opened in 1932 just outside the “town” of Winslow, population 392, up from 391 just this past week. That’s what the proud parents put up on the population signs, and who would argue? The little big college town of Fayetteville is less than 30 minutes up the interstate. Its charming layout, University of Arkansas Razorback pride evident everywhere, and the usual quirky combination of old and new is as fine and fun as anything you’d find in Austin, Ft. Collins, Knoxville, College Station, or Gainesville. It may lack the centuries old tradition of a Charlottesville or a Princeton, but it takes a back seat to nowhere for sheer, simple enjoyment. The beauty of the land is evident everywhere and perhaps rarely blended as well with human achievement as in Bentonville, home of the Crystal Bridges Art Museum. The Walton family decided to honor the opportunity this country gave them by showcasing a cornucopia of American treasures, melding over five hundred years of human creativity with the millennial long magic wrought by Mother Nature. Massive, stunning shells of glass and concrete filled with every type of artistic expression are anchored in the waters surrounded by forests and hills and 5 miles of trails and outdoor displays. Virtually all is free for the public to enjoy. Amazing. From the Missouri border to Ft. Smith close to the Oklahoma line, Northwest Arkansas has sights, sounds, smells, and tastes for all types. And those feels. Oh, those feels. You’ll be be feeling them for a looong time. It’s just natural.
See you sometime soon!
(1) Ratings Percentage Index, a three layered measurement composed of a wrestlers winning percentage, the opponents winning percentage, and the opponents opponents winning percentage.
(2) Late breaking Lions news has Kazimir listed as one of Columbias three captains for the 2021-2022 season but as of this writing STILL not on the official active roster. S’OK. NOT disagreeing with anything that sinisterly smiling, powder blue Manticore-faced mascot Columbia wants to roll with.