Ten on roster is big increase over last year
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Longhorn Wrestling Coach Matt Vlasin said there’s a big difference on the practice mats this season.
That’s because 10 wrestlers are out there, vying for spots on the team that had just four competing last season.
“It’s a lot different with the numbers,” Vlasin said.
Now in a third week of practice, the Longhorns will travel to their first competition tonight (Thursday), a triangular in Oshkosh with Garden County and Bridgeport.
Wrestling gets underway at 5:30 p.m. in the Garden County gym.
On Saturday, the team will head to the Broken Bow Invitational, the first big tournament of the season. Wrestling starts there at 8:30 a.m. MT
Vlasin said practice has been going well. Even though Chase County has a young team with six freshmen this season, he said the ninth graders come in with a lot of experience. In addition to success as junior high wrestlers, many of them were also in the kids’ federation program as youngsters.
Two seniors will lead the team, Khris Kuhlmann and newcomer Austin White. Kuhlmann is a second-year wrestler, who returned to the program last year as a junior. Vlasin said he came along late in the season, and has done a lot of off-season work that has been beneficial.
White moved here this summer from St. Francis, Kan., where he wrestled during high school and, last year, compiled a 26-5 record, Vlasin said.
They are joined by junior Jake Lueth, who’s had three years in the program, and sophomore Hunter Dillan.
Vlasin said he’d like to see the team in better condition for the first competition, but it’s difficult with not quite three weeks of practice going into the opener.
However, they are looking forward to Thursday.
“It will be nice to be out on the mat and see where we are and what we need to work on,” Vlasin said.
With weights where they are now and some pounds expected to be dropped in the coming weeks, Vlasin said the Longhorns should be able to fill seven to eight slots at matches this season. He expects a couple of the guys to wrestle up the first two to three weeks as weights get established.
Two weeks ago, the wrestlers established their base weights with oversight from School Nurse Angie Paisley, who first did a hydration test. Body fat was also measured.
All that information was then entered into a computer program, which then sets a per-day schedule on how much weight each wrestler can lose.
New assistant coach
New to the assistant coaching position this year is Jeff Rusher of Imperial, a former standout wrestler at Chadron State College. He replaces Rob Lueth.
As a high school wrestler, Rusher collected three Colorado state titles, two as a junior and senior at Wray and one his sophomore year at Crowley County High School in Ordway. As a freshman at Crowley, he was state runner-up.
“He brings a lot of wrestling experience” to the program, Vlasin said.
Vlasin is beginning his ninth year as head coach for the Longhorns, after several years as assistant.
The Chase County schedule is similar to last year. The SPVA Conference Tournament will be hosted by Sutherland Feb. 6. The C4 District Tournament will be in Hershey Feb. 14-15.
Here is the wrestling team roster for 2013-14.
Seniors—Khris Kuhlmann and Austin White.
Freshmen—Bryson Fisher, Angel Hinojosa, Adam Burpo, Colton Burpo, Zach Space, Mike Martinez.