There’s not much Centennial junior Nathan Kraisser can say he hasn’t accomplished. He is a two-time state champion, was the first Marylander to win the Super 32 and is a national face of Maryland wrestling, but there is one thing he is yet to accomplish; win a Mount Mat Madness title.
“I have lost the past two years to the same wrestler, so it would be a big win for me and that would be a huge hurdle that I have gotten over,” Kraisser said, referring to Wyoming Seminary’s nationally recognized Dom Malone. “It would show me that I have kept improving.”
Malone first beat Kraisser in 2009, winning a 3-1 decision for the tournament title, and the two met again in the 2010 semifinals, where Malone again prevailed, 3-1, in route to his second-straight crown.
Kraisser went on to take third in the tournament in 2010.
“As always, my goal this year is to keep improving every year and widen the gap by which I beat my opponents last year,” Kraisser said. “If I beat someone by eight points last year, I want to beat them by 10 or 12 this year. Just keep improving and the wins will come.”
Another improvement the young star will try to achieve is winning an additional tournament that is yet to bare his name, as the Eagles take flight to this year’s War on the Shore, adding to the list of tournaments that Kraisser had triumphed.
Just a month ago, Kraisser became the first Maryland wrestler to win the Super 32 tournament; an honor that he has taken quite modestly.
“It was a great experience, and I had a lot of guys in my bracket, so I knew it was going to be tough and that I was going to have to win a bunch of matches to do well,” Kraisser said of his more than 100-man bracket. “After I got to the quarterfinals, I knew I could do well at that point, and I was just trying to keep my confidence up while not being too cocky, and just go out and wrestle my match.
“It felt good after I won. It was a good match and everybody got to watch.”
Not only did everyone at the tournament witness Kraisser’s accomplishment, but the wrestling community across the nation was glues to their computers watching the finals match on Flowrestling.org.
The feel good win at the Super 32 ranked among Kraisser’s personal best, matching his 2008 run at the Tulsa Nationals, where he went through a tough field to beat multiple-time champ Mark Grey of New Jersey.
“It helped me realize how good I could be, or how good I was and the Super 32 was another feel-good win for a national tournament,” Kraisser said.
But no matter how many county, regional, state or national titles he wins, you will never find Kraisser celebrating his victory’s in outlandish form. He instead forgoes the backflips and pageantry for a mere raise of his arm and congratulations from his corner.
“That’s just how I see it. I expect myself to win and it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I do, so I shouldn’t be jumping up and down, in my opinion,” said Kraisser, who has more than enough experience winning the most premier wrestling tournaments. “Just win, get your hand raised and get off the mat.
This 2010-2011 season has bestowed an early Christmas present to Kraisser, coming from little place out West called Kansas.
“For the first time in his career, Nathan has a practice partner in the room near his weight who is able to challenge him every day in Macon Stanley, a two-time state qualifier in Kansas who transferred to Centennial earlier this month, so he should be even more on top of his game this year,” Centennial coach Dave Roogow said.
“I thought he was going to be a lot more cocky; a lot more proving that he is better than me,” Stanley said. “But he has been a lot more laid back and shows me what I am doing wrong, and I told myself I am not going to be to prideful. But when we are live, I go as hard as I possibly can and he can do one little thing and I find myself on my back.”
Kraisser is already seeing the benefit in his new practice partner and teammate, who just so happens to be his neighbor, as well.
“It is definitely good and going to help this year,” Kraisser said. “We are good drilling partners and both work hard to improve a lot. I think we will both have shots at county and state titles.”
He has already been there before and knows what he needs to do to accomplish the high goals he has already set for himself.
“I know I have to come out in my best, because people see me and my name and come gunning for me. They want to prove they can hag with the big guy, which is me this year,” Kraisser said. “I try to treat everyone with respect off the mat, but when I get on, it is going to be a battle.
I need to not let too much attention getting to me and stay humbles. I just need to treat everyone the same and not get caught, while going out there every match like this guy is a national champ.”