By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
With just nine wrestlers on the Chase County roster this season, Coach Matt Vlasin isn’t counting on winning a lot of meets.
But, he predicts his wrestlers will be bringing home a lot of individual medals.
“We will struggle with team points; it will be tough to compete as the top team,” Vlasin said during Monday’s practice.
“But, we have got a lot of quality kids. It’s a small group, but it’s one of the most dedicated I’ve had so far,” he said.
He saw that immediately when official practices started mid-November.
He said the wrestlers started conditioning themselves right after football was over, before the wrestling practices could start.
That allowed them to get right into technique, rather than spend a lot of time on conditioning, he said.
The team will be led by a strong group of experienced seniors, including Jeremiah Lueth, Keithan Cochran, Nathan Hinojosa, Trevor Fuehrer, Jesse Ferebee and newcomer Drew Curtis.
Three of them—Lueth, Cochran and Hinojosa—are returning state qualifiers.
Curtis is new to the team, but has wrestled in the past for Perkins County. He didn’t see much action last year, Vlasin said, due to an injury, but has several years experience.
Ferebee was injured in a car accident last year, and wasn’t able to compete until very late in the season.
Joining the seniors are sophomores Clay Redden and Makayla Bell, and freshman Garret Thompson.
Vlasin said he had hoped for more from this year’s large freshman class to go out for wrestling, but many of those who competed in junior high didn’t.
The team has undergone the NSAA-required body fat testing, which determines how many pounds they can lose to get to a targeted weight class.
Vlasin said Chase County has appealed to the NSAA to allow an additional pound of weight loss on three of the Longhorns. If granted, that will ease some of the overlap around the 130 lb. class.
He expected to be notified early this week of NSAA’s decision before this Thursday’s opening meets in Oshkosh.
Vlasin hopes to fill eight of the 14 varsity spots at most meets this season. At times, some of the younger wrestlers will compete in the JV division.
The 2010-11 schedule is fairly similar to last year.
Chase County will host its home tournament on Jan. 15, followed by a dual with Fleming, Colo., on Jan. 20. Those will be the only home appearances this season.
The SPVA conference meet will be on Feb. 3 in Hershey, and the Longhorns will travel to Valentine for the C-4 districts Feb. 11-12.
There aren’t too many rule changes but Vlasin said, like other high school sports, there is a major emphasis on watching for concussions. He was among all of the CCS coaches undergoing special training on concussions and watching for signs.
Opener a triangular
Chase County travels to Oshkosh for its opener tonight (Thursday), where Bridgeport will also compete.
Action starts at 5:30 p.m. when the Longhorns come up against Garden County. Chase County’s match with Bridgeport will follow immediately after.
On Saturday, the Longhorns will travel to Broken Bow. Wrestling starts at 8:30 a.m. MT.