This year’s senior class is expected to provide solid leadership for the Longhorn wrestling team, which opens its season tonight (Thursday). The seniors include, from left, Eli Hinojosa, Jose Medrano, Jayden German, Caine Haarberg and Caleb Weiss. (Johnson Publications photo)

Five seniors anchoring Longhorn wrestling team

Season opens Thursday on road to triangular

    Coach Matt Vlasin says the group of five seniors on this year’s Chase County wrestling team is one of the hardest working classes in awhile.
    “And, they’ve been leaders since their freshman year. They’re a pretty good group of kids,” he said.
    The seniors will get their chance to show that leadership along with nine other teammates as the Longhorn wrestlers open their season tonight (Thursday) at a 5:30 p.m. triangular in Oshkosh.
    Three of the seniors are returning 2016 state qualifiers—Eli Hinojosa, Caleb Weiss and Caine Haarberg. Hinojosa brought home silver hardware, reigning as the Class C state runner-up at 220 lbs. Also competing at state last season was sophomore Trevor Peterson.
    Other seniors rounding out the 2017-18 team include Jayden German and Jose Medrano.
    With five seniors graduating after last season, Vlasin said he was expecting a smaller roster this year with a small incoming freshman class, as well. Fourteen are on the 2017 roster as they enter action this week, just one shy of last year’s roster number.
    Helping their numbers, the Longhorns picked up a couple transfer students and, after a year off, Medrano rejoined the team for his senior year.
    Practice has been going well, Vlasin noted, largely due to the fact most have some experience.
    “We haven’t had to spend a lot of time on fundamentals; that’s been a plus,” he said.
    Plus, they are really pushing themselves, Vlasin added.
    “These kids want to go hard and be better.”     
    Early on in the season, Vlasin expects to have three to four weights open out of 14 as wrestlers adjust to which  weight class they’ll compete. He hopes as the season progresses, that will drop to just two open weights.
    The team started its hydration tests and body fat measurement before practice began. Athletes must first pass the hydration testing before undergoing the body fat measurement, Vlasin noted. The body fat measurement then determines which weights an athlete can wrestle, Vlasin said.
    Wrestlers must complete both tests before competing in meets, he added.
    After Christmas, each athlete is given a two-pound growth allowance, the same as last year.
    Jeff Rusher is again serving as an assistant coach. Todd Westover, a new CCS teacher this year, is also assisting as a volunteer coach.
    Here is the roster of wrestlers by class:
    Seniors—Jose Medrano, Jayden German, Caine Haarberg, Caleb Weiss, Eli Hinojosa.
    Juniors—Logan Mendenhall, Kadin Vrbas, Evan Fisher, Alex Gomez.
    Sophomores—Levi Nance, Mikael Kuhlmann, Trevor Peterson.
    Freshmen—Kenyan Biesecker, Brit Gockley.

A look at 2017-18 schedule

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