Wrestling team looking to start season strong
The De Soto wrestling team is young and steadily improving. And coming off a solid season last year, the Wildcats are looking to carry that momentum into this year.
“I think we’ve got some kids who are pretty tough,” coach Shannon Sawner said. “We’ve got a good group of juniors this year who are kind of leading. We’ve only got a couple seniors, but the juniors are doing a good job of leading and we’ve got a good group of sophomores. I’m really impressed with how our freshmen look. I think the junior high program is really starting to help us out up at Mill Creek and here at De Soto.”
De Soto has about 35 out for wrestling, and seniors Josh Below and David Karnitz return to the squad as veterans. Varsity contributors Donny Parr and Daniel Goodin also return to the mat.
“Every year I’ve seen our team, and we’ve always been a young team,” Below said. “And even now we’re still young. We have a lot of freshman who want to get after it. Our program is stronger and we have great coaches. I expect great things for our team this year.”
The team might also be ahead of where it was last year at this time, as many freshmen are ahead of the learning curve.
“Our team is looking strong,” Below said. “Usually we spend the first two weeks working on basic techniques, and we’re already ahead of that. Our freshman know what they’re doing and that helps make us a lot more successful.”
While De Soto didn’t have a state qualifier last year on the roster, it does now.
Cole Cannon, a state qualifier last year at St. James, has transferred to De Soto and will be eligible to compete on varsity for the Wildcats after the semester.
During the next two weeks, Sawner’s team will try to get back in shape as it prepares for its opening bout Dec. 5 at Wamego.
“We’ll try to get in as good of shape as we can and try to figure out what weights guys want to wrestle at so we can cover our weights and be a good team,” Sawner said. “We’re just going to get after it and try to see as many good teams as we can. And we want to take a group to the state tournament. Everything is practice up until the end of the year.”