Tuesday, December 5, 2000
With only one wrestler gone from last year's league championship team the Hayden wrestling team is focusing on finishing in the top five at the state tournament.
State Champion Anton Fredrickson will lead an experienced wrestling team that is under the direction John Svoboda.
"We are going to rely on our older wrestlers this season," Svoboda said. "Basically, we have the same team we had last year."
The team started practicing Nov. 13, and so far Svoboda has not been impressed with the team's start.
"We are starting off kind of slow," he said. "I think we can be really tough but right now we are not showing too much. We are going to have to pick it up."
Along with Fredrickson, who plans on wrestling at 135 pounds, the team returns five other wrestlers made it to the state tournament.
Those wrestlers are seniors Joel Wixson, 171, and Jimmy Rossi, 125, and juniors, Riley Whiteman, 160, Clayton Nuemiller, 189, and Tanner Copeland, 215.
Out of these five wrestlers Wixson was the only one to place. The senior placed fifth.
Svoboda believes Fredrickson has a good chance of repeating.
"Winning a state title a second time is the hardest," he said. "We have had a lot of repeat champions, but it is going to be harder for him because everyone is going to be out for him."
Svoboda believes there are a number of wrestlers who have the potential to go to state.
Svoboda is keeping a keen eye on juniors Kevin Miller, 152, and Jake Booco, 112, and sophomores Troy Kochenower, 103, and Kelly Bruchez, 145.
Rounding out the squad are seniors Cameron Keadle, 119, and Josh Giessinger, 140 and junior Justin Schaffner, heavyweight.
Also out for the team are junior Josh Haptonstall, 145, sophomore Alan Stark, 189, and freshman Trevor Gann, 130.
One of the wrestlers Svoboda is watching closely is Giessinger, who decided to try out for the team his senior year.
"He wrestled when he was younger," Svoboda said of Giessinger. "He may do all right, but not being in the sport for three years could be a detriment."
Although it is early in the season, Svoboda has his team focused for a Dec. 9 tournament in Cedaredge.
"Last year we finished second," he said of the tournament. "If we have progressed, we should take first-place."
Svoboda is also hopeful the team improves on last year's showing at the regional and state tournaments where they finished third and eighth.
"The outlook I have for the season is we want to finish in the top three in state and in the top two at regionals," he said.
Svoboda believes Soroco and West Grand will be two teams that challenge the Tigers for the league crown.
"Those two teams will be tough," he said. "They will be better than they were last year. They have some good kids returning."