The Western News
Coach: Kelly Morford
How many seniors are on the roster? We have five seniors returning this year and they have a lot of combined experience: Tim Carvey (state qualifier), Michael Diller, Mason Sams (state qualifier), Laine Young (three-time state qualifier) and Tanner Wood.
Who do you consider to be team-leaders and why? The up and comers? Our group of seniors will lead the way with team leadership. Everyone of those guys are talented wrestlers and they all come into the season with a chip on their shoulders. They have had successful careers but they all have more to prove. They want to be All-State wrestlers and the drive to do that on their part is going to set the tone for our team this year.
Who are your strongest competitors and why? When looking at returners, you have to start with Buddy Doolin who is a two-time State finalist and a returning State Champion. He obviously has high expectations and is looking to get back to that State title match. It is never easy to do but he has put in the work this offseason and is ready for a good season. Dylan Yeadon is our other returning State placer and he is going to make some noise in those lower weights again this year. Along with the seniors that I mentioned that can make a run at being All-State, I think we have a lot of others that can make a push as well. Trey Thompson put in a ton of time this offseason at camps and Cyrus Sweedman is going to be a wrestling with a lot more confidence in his Sophomore season.
Is the conference a strong one? How does it compare statewide? It will be fun moving back up to Class A this season. We have a good relationship with a lot of those teams and it will be nice to be back. Competition-wise, I don’t really know what is exactly out there but I do know that the Class B-C division we have been wrestling in the past few years has been as tough as anywhere in the state. Class A has a combined Western Divisionals now so we will have to battle a ton of good wrestlers and teams to get to the state tournament. It will be a fun challenge.
What excites you most about the coming season? If we can stay healthy and keep our grades up, we will be deeper than any team I have coached since I have been here. We have 22 kids out right now and that is more than we have had in awhile. Varsity wrestling is never easy for freshmen to transition to, but we have a talented group of freshmen that are going to win some matches and will be a key part of our success this season. The young kids, combined with our experienced wrestlers will give us a chance to do some great things as a team this season. We also have some really athletic kids that have come out either for the first time or are returning to the sport after a few years off. If we can get those kids to stick with us, they will be invaluable come the end of the season. We have a lot of work to do and have to take care of our business on and off the mat, but there is a lot of potential for this group to have a really successful season.
What is your biggest challenge? Essentially, our biggest challenge as a team will be to stay focused on taking care of ourselves on and off the mat. It is no secret that a wrestling season can be a grind mentally and physically. We need to keep our focus and get better every single day in practice while also working hard in the classroom so we are ready to compete every weekend. Depth-wise I am excited to have some numbers again this year but it will be a bit of a challenge to get everyone settled in at a weight to where we can get our best group on the Divisional roster. We are a little log jammed at some weights so we will have to figure that out. While a challenge for the coaching staff, it sure makes for good practice partners so it isn’t a bad problem to have.