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Freshman Kraisser wins Outstanding Wrestler award at Franklin Invitational

The weekend of Jan. 18 and 19 was a very good one for the wrestling Kraissers.

Nathan, a freshman at the University of North Carolina and a four-time state champion for Centennial High School from 2009-2012, beat Virginia's No. 7 ranked Matt Snyder on Friday and then defeated Virginia Tech's No. 4 ranked Jarrod Garnett, 9-2, on Saturday.

Nathan Kraisser, who was ranked No. 13 in the nation coming into the weekend, will almost certainly get a boost in the rankings come Monday.

And his younger brother, Austin, also saw his stock rise on Saturday evening.

The Centennial freshman dominated the competition at the Franklin Invitational on Friday and Saturday, scoring a 16-0 tech fall over Towson's top-seeded Liam St. John in the 138-pound championship, and earning the Outstanding Lightweight award.

"It feels pretty good, it feels like I accomplished something," Austin Kraisser said. "I'm getting there."

Austin Kraisser (23-3) hasn't exactly been wrestling in the shadow of his older brother at Centennial, but the name has come up on occassion.

"A lot of people ask if I'm Nathan's brother, or 'Are you as good as Nathan?' or stuff like that," Austin Kraisser said. "It's good to always hear his name when I'm around him or when I'm around other people and they're asking about him, but it feels good that people are starting to know me, too."

Austin Kraisser scored two pins in Friday's opening rounds, and then shut out Annapolis' Stanley Proctor, 9-0, in Saturday morning's semifinal round.

"I wrestled Stanley over the summer, he's a really good opponent," Kraisser said. "He wrestles really hard, never stops, good technique, good strength. He's a solid wrestler all around."

Dave Roogow, who coaches Centennial alongside Austin and Nathan's father, Cliff Kraisser, says that Austin is well-equipped to handle the pressure to succeed that his family name carries.

"He wants to do everything Nathan does, so there's no pressure as far as that goes. He knows he's a completely different wrestler," Roogow said. "I was glad he finally got his first tournament win ... he wrestled as I expected, as he wrestled since the first weekend: majoring, teching or pinning pretty much everyone."

While Nathan started his high school career as a 103-pounder wrestling mostly other freshmen and sophomores, Austin — who has the height and physical development of an upperclassmen — has been wrestling at 138 all year.

"It's a lot tougher (than the junior leagues). Everybody is a lot bigger, faster, stronger," said Austin Kraisser, who played varsity football for Centennial this fall. "I feel like I started off all right but I'm getting stronger and better conditioned as the year goes on."

Back in early December, at the highly competitive War on the Shore tournament, Austin Kraisser defeated Mount St. Joseph's Seth Rowell — ranked fourth in the state by the Maryland State Wrestling Association — in the quarterfinals. Rowell, who wrestled for Reservoir as a freshman and sophomore, was a state finalist in 2011.

But on the second day of the War on the Shore, Austin Kraisser lost three close matches.

"He had the high of beating Seth ... and then he had a good eye-opening the next day when he lost all three, but all three were close, tough matches," Roogow said. "But it's not a bad experience to get the losses out early. No one has come close to him since then."

Sameh Boulos (152) placed third for the Eagles, who finished 13th out of 19 teams.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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