Home for the holidays
Wildcat wrestlers close out 2007 schedule with strong home-mat performance
De Soto sophomore Sammy Seibolt entered the season as one of the Wildcats most experienced wrestlers, a strange designation considering the multi-sport talent sat out the 2006-07 season after breaking his leg late in the soccer season.
The road to full recovery has been daunting for the 125 pounder. We went a long way to showing the team's fans he was all the way back Dec. 19 in the team's final home action before the start of winter break.
Seibolt won with a first period pin, joining Alex Hefner and Demetrius Hall in winning matches at the home dual against St. James Academy.
"Obviously we didn't win the dual, but we had a couple good things happen," De Soto coach Shannon Sawner said. "I saw a lot of improvement out of all the kids today."
Seibolt wrestled in junior high school and figured to be one of the team's top talents last year as a freshman. His injury kept him sidelined, literally - he spent the season riding a stationary bike in the wrestling room trying to regain his strength as he watched his teammates work on the mats.
The physical strength eventually came back and the sophomore played a key role in the soccer team's successful season during the fall. He's slowly been working the rust off of his old wrestling moves, too.
"Even though he's trying to work off that rust, he's one of our better kids," Sawner said. "We just keep throwing him out there. He got sick last week, so he missed an opportunity.
"He wrestled in the kids program, so he just has more experience. He has more moves and knowledge than a lot of the kids do."
He was at his best against St. James.
Seibolt exploded from the opening whistle and commanded every aspect of the short match. He found his way atop his opponent, the Thunder's Alex Sanchez and seemed to be relearning the sport in the middle of the match - holding his opponent in check with just one arm and a leg, he watched carefully as Sawner offered advice and tips from the corner.
Finally Seibolt put on the finishing touches, rolling Sanchez to his back and logging the pin with 37 seconds remaining in the first period.
"That went really well," Seibolt said afterward. "It's been pretty rough - I'm still trying to get back into it. I remembered some of the basics, but I've had to learn a lot of new stuff this year.
"That's the best I wrestled this year."
De Soto also picked up a varsity win in the 103-pound division thanks to equally aggressive wrestling from Hefner.
Like Seibolt, Hefner shot into the fight at the opening whistle. Unlike Seibolt, he gave the fans a little more for their money.
Wrestling Trinidad Molina, Hefner accrued a comfortable point advantage, and led 14-5 before finally finishing the action off with the pin.
"Alex is a first year wrestler," Sawner said. "He's really coming along. He played football and he was a little guy. I just kept on him on football and kept saying, 'You know, there's a sport where no one will say you're too small.'
"He came out and is really having success. He has only lost one junior varsity match, and this was his first varsity match."
It was again a similar story for Hall's victory - fast and aggressive action leading to a pin, Hall picking up the win against St. James' Dustin Vielhauer.
That's no coincidence, Sawner said.
"He's another young one," he said. "A lot of the things he's doing are what we're working on in practice.
"We have some kids on the team who have more experience, but they haven't yet figured out that they need more aggressiveness."
De Soto won matches via forfeit at 189 and 215 pounds, and had a particular strong showing from Donny Parr at 160 pounds despite Parr dropping the match to Jonas Sanchez, 14-11.
Parr trailed Sanchez 14-5 at the start of the third period, but found his way on top and began to quickly make up the point differential. Parr was working for the pin with 10 seconds remaining, but couldn't finish the job.
"We're just looking for improvement. Am I seeing the moves we're working on every day? Are we doing the things we need to do to improve?" Sawner said. "It's like eating an elephant - we just have to take it one bite at a time.
"St. James is a young team like us and we got together and set things up to get some good matches. We did a pretty good job of that. We're both trying to build our program and since they're right down the road, it works pretty well."
The Wildcats return to action Jan. 5 with a trip to a tournament in Burlington.