There is energy in the Trojans wrestling room, and it is not just kinetic. In the first week of practice, wrestlers seem focused and ready to rock.
Coach Scott O’Hare promoted a crisp and fast-paced atmosphere, circling up the team to review wrestling moves and breaking each review with a collective “Ready, Break,” punctuated by a clap that echoed off the walls.
“One our biggest things this year is to improve every day,” O’Hare said. “We’ve got to find ways to work with our strengths and continue to get better.”
While this year’s team is not as big as last year and several weight classes are missing wrestlers, O’Hare is optimistic.
“We’ll be giving up some weight classes with 106, 220, and 285 pounds,” O’Hare said, “but we’ve got a couple pretty solid seniors, some state qualifiers, and I have high hopes for some of our younger guys.”
He anticipates seniors Levi Mendoza and Franklin Jost to step it up and help lead the Trojans.
Mendoza missed qualifying for state by one point in the consolation semi-finals round last year but he qualified for state as a sophomore, O’Hare said.
This year Mendoza will likely wrestle at 195-pounds.
Last year, Mendoza also competed in the “Kids” Wrestling program where he place sixth in Kids State, O’Hare said.
“He’s a pretty athletic kid,” O’Hare said. “He’s been a strong wrestler for the last few years.”
Jost will likely wrestle at either 170 or 182 pounds. O’Hare said Jost has proven to be a vital varsity asset for the last several years, but is still looking to achieve his first state appearance.
“He’s the type that leads by example and he’s continued to grind at it,” O’Hare said. “Last year he was at 190 and gave up some weight wrestling at 220-pounds for us.”
At 132 or 138 pounds, Travis King, a junior, will also be one Trojan to watch, O’Hare said.
King qualified for state last year at 126-pounds but lost his first two matches there.
“Travis came up through our Kids Wrestling Club, he’s looked pretty good this first week,” O’Hare said. “He’s pretty thick and strong through his chest. If he can make 132 and still keep his strength up, he should be a fairly large wrestler at that weight class.”
King attended Purler Wrestling Academy in the off-season as well as some other workout and drill sessions.
Tristan Donaldson, a junior, has wrestled varsity for the last two years. He is slated to be at 132 or 138-pounds, too.
Ian Alumbaugh, a sophomore from Canton-Galva, joined the Trojans last year. He will likely be at 152 or 160 pounds this year. O’Hare said Alumbaugh wrestled well junior varsity and achieved some quality wins at the varsity level too.
Last year was sophomore Jaden Priest’s first year, during which O’Hare said Priest “made a ton of progress.” This year he should be at 152 or 160 pounds.
At 113 or 120 pounds, the Trojans’ lightest wrestler is not one to forget.
“He won the Hesston tournament at 106-pounds for us last year,” O’Hare said. “I’m expecting him to do some good things.”
O’Hare said the younger wrestlers have potential and he hopes all his wrestlers will continue to improve their skills as the season progresses.
Trojans wrestle against Halstead and Minneapolis in a home double dual at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3.