Wrestling faces setback in recent competition

Kaitlyn Marsh

Junior Quinn Smith attempts to untangle and pin his opponent at the Hickman Tournament  Friday, Jan. 18. Photo by Patrick Smith
Junior Quinn Smith attempts to untangle and pin his opponent at the Hickman Tournament Friday, Jan. 18. Photo by Patrick Smith
Simply saying that the wrestling team has been through a lot this season is an understatement.
This past week in competition, the Bruins came in last at the Francis Howell North tournament as a team. This might sound like their season is finished and that the hopes for a place at districts and state have diminished, but what most fail to realize is that the varsity competitive squad lacked seven of its 14 members Saturday: the wrestlers seem to have hit a little road block.
“We had a lot of people who were injured or out because of sicknesses so our team did not do too good,” junior Jason Kiehne said. “But individually, we all did good. [Junior] Quinn [Smith] and I got first, and [sophomore] Graham [Ratterman] and [senior] Kyle [Johnston] got third.”
Trying to stay as positive as possible, Kiehne stressed the importance of individual performance in the past few events with the lack of half the team. If each team member performs individually to his full potential, the team will succeed simultaneously. They prepare to wrestle at Wentzville Holt against Holt, Hickman and Timberland high school today.
“Right now, I am working on getting my ranking up in the state,” Kiehne said, elaborating on how he plans to perform in future matches. “I am planning on wrestling the fourth ranked wrestler in the state [today], and if I beat him, then it will help my seeding at districts … I also think that many of my teammates will do good at districts, and I plan for everyone to be wrestling in the state tournament.”
If the team weren’t battling setbacks such as injuries and absences, assistant coach Joe Collier said RBHS should have been the team to beat. After an eighth place finish at state last year and a returning varsity of experienced state-goers, they should have been at the top of the leaderboard. But, unfortunately, things haven’t worked out that way, Collier said.
“We took eighth at state, which was not bad, and that’s why we have those guys, we have much of the same team back this year, so that’s why they’re thinking, ‘Eighth last year, we can do better this year,’” Collier said. But as far as injuries are concerned, “we say football is a collision sport, wrestling is a collision sport also. Anything can happen, and you don’t want to think about it or slow down because [if you do], now you don’t get in shape, now you’re not mentally ready for matches. You’ve got to go hard and just hope for the best, hope you don’t get hurt … You just hope it don’t happen.”
However, after the hopeful returns of junior Sam Crane, who was ill at Saturday’s meet, junior Sabien Cook, with a strained oblique, and junior Cody Maly, with shoulder complications, the team anticipates making leaps and bounds to get back up to competition speed just in time for districts, Feb. 8 and 9 at Jefferson City High School. Kiehne said the coaching staff and wrestlers have their own strategies in order to strengthen themselves individually and as a team.
“At this past tournament, I saw our coach, Travis Craig, writing down things each individual person needed to work on and in the practice room we are working on it,” Kiehne said. “We are working on tightening up the little things we need to do in order to win in every position.”
By Kaitlyn Marsh