staff photo by oliver good
Senior wrestler Kyle Palic shoots in at senior Adam Janzen’s legs, attempting a double-leg takedown Monday afternoon at wrestling practice at Marion Sports and Aquatic Center while Janzen defends with a sprawl. Both wrestlers placed at the 3A state tournament last year. Palic took second and Janzen sixth. Their achievements last year are largely responsible for the Marion’s preseason team ranking of eighth in the state.
Kyle Palic and Adam Janzen ranked in the top two of their weight classes
With a strong crop of underclassmen joining seven of nine wrestlers who qualified for the 3-2-1 state tournament last year, Marion is a team opponents will likely be gunning for this year.
“We’re excited to be back at it,” coach Chad Adkins said. “Not that we put too much stock in preseason rankings, but we are ranked eighth as a team with just two kids ranked individually.”
Last year could have been a rebuilding year, but wrestlers performed beyond coaches’ expectations. That raises the bar this year.
After placing second and sixth at state in the 220- and 170-pound weight classes last year, seniors Kyle Palic and Adam Janzen know they have to be “on” every match, Adkins said.
Palic is ranked second at 220 pounds, and Janzen will be ranked first or second in the 180-pound class, Adkins said.
“They both have pretty good shots at winning state,” Adkins said. “They can’t afford to have an off night, but they probably will and that’s all right.”
Occasionally, losing a match early in the season can provide wrestlers opportunities to learn, he said.
Other state qualifiers Remington Putter, Zach Dvorak, Ezra Darnall, Bryce Shults, and Jarrett Johnson are returning a year older and a year wiser.
“At 160, Remington has improved his technique a lot, and Zach is coming into his own at 170, having spent a lot of time training with solid wrestlers like Adam Janzen.”
Freshmen Kolton Brewer, Garrett Hofner, and Corbin Wheeler will likely wrestle somewhere around 145, 152, and 160 pounds, depending on how their weights shake out.
“Kolton is brand new, having started in eighth grade, Garrett is long and lanky, and Corbin is a smart wrestler,” Adkins said.
Freshman Tyler Palic, Kyle’s brother, also will likely wrestle varsity at 195 pounds.
“Kyle and Tyler get after it, they’re brothers,” Adkins joked. “We don’t let them wrestle each other too often.”
Collectively, the team is about a week ahead of where it was with drills last year.
A summer dual camp in Gunnison, Colorado, at which the team wrestled 20 matches and placed ninth, aided the players’ progression, Adkins said.
The team is doing a lot of live drilling focused on situational awareness to develop wrestlers’ ability to recognize options and move combinations, while providing conditioning to grapple with a competitor for six minutes.
“There is a lot of dedication on this team,” Adkins said. “Heading in to Thanksgiving break we have four practices two days before, and in the past we’ve always had at least one guy miss a practice.
“This year, everyone showed up.”