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Wrestling notes: Maize South banks on experience

Published Dec. 12 at 5:11 p.m. | Last updated Dec. 12 at 5:12 p.m.

Maize South’s first wrestling season was three years ago, yet youth has been a factor for the Mavericks to overcome each year.

Maize South is finally leaning on experience, though, which has helped the Mavericks to a 2-0 start for duals and two impressive tournament appearances.

“Some of them were starters their freshman years, and they took some beatings as freshmen,” coach Mike Kerr said. “Since we started the program we’ve been really young, and haven’t had a lot of experience and this is the first year we’ve got some.”

Maize South was 8-3 in duals and second in its league while qualifying three wrestlers for the state tournament. Kerr wants to help this team become not only a successful dual team, but tournament team as well.

“They see this as their chance,” Kerr said. “They only took those beatings early on because they figured at some point that they’d be on the other end.”

Maize South’s strength is in its middle weights.

“We’ve had a challenge trying to figure out who goes in those weight classes. Right now I’ve got two guys that can win a lot of matches on varsity but only one spot for them,” Kerr said. “Overall, I’d say our strength is from 106-145.”

The Mavericks have relied on sophomore Kevin Kissane at 132, who has lost once this season, as well as Shelton Robinson (10-0) at 170. Freshmen Bryce Garcia at 113 and Ryan Kasitz at 106 placed at the Eudora tournament. Senior Jesse Bashor at 120 is another important leader.

“Each person has a job to do and if they do it then it will work out,” Kerr said. “There are a lot of guys that are having good years, don’t be surprised if they show up at the state tournament.”

Looking for a repeat — The goal for Northwest this season is to continue last season’s success, when it finished first in the City League and fifth in the state tournament. The Grizzlies started this year with a dual win against West and victories in the Pratt and Wellington tournaments.

“We have 14 quality kids; we don’t have a weak weight. We’re good at some weights and average at other weights,” coach Eric Prichard said. “We can improve our technique and our shape and our mental toughness, but overall we have decent kids at each weight.”

Northwest will meet Bishop Carroll on Thursday in a early battle of the City League’s top teams. Prichard thinks the winner will gain control of the City League.

“It’s going to be a close dual, honestly it can go either way,” Prichard said. “The key thing is not giving up pins and getting pins. We want to be the ones getting pins.”

Seniors Joey Alberts at 120 and Michael Lindlar, the returning state champion at 113, lead Northwest. Sophomores Saul Ortiz at 152 and Dylan Brazzle at 132 are other important contributors. Eight of Northwest’s 14 wrestlers are currently ranked in the top six in the Kansas coaches rankings.

“We start off and then we get a 2 1/2-week break,” Pritchard said. “We have to start back up in January, but it’s an awful good start to get the team some confidence early.”

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