A season goal for the Marion High School wrestling team went by the wayside Friday with a sixth-place finish in the Marion County Winter Duals at USD 408 Sports and Aquatics Center, but head coach Chad Adkins was decidedly upbeat in his evaluation of the team’s performance.
“We wrestled well, and our young kids are wrestling better every time we get on the mat,” Adkins said. “We’re doing very well right now, and we’re not very good yet. We’re not nearly as good as we’re going to be in February.”
The format for the 16-team event paired the Warriors with five teams in head-to-head competition, different from traditional tournaments where wrestlers from all teams compete in elimination brackets by weight class.
“We set a team goal of top-five at every tournament, and we didn’t reach that, so we’re disappointed,” Adkins said.
“This is definitely a harder format for us because we’re just inexperienced at some weights. That hurts us a lot more in this than it does in a traditional tournament,” Adkins said. “We’re going to do well in tournaments because we’re going to score a lot of points.”
Marion steamrolled past Bluestem, 54-27, and Riley County, 47-23, before being upended by Chanute, 51-43, to finish 2-1 in pool competition.
The Warriors faced Chaparral in the first match of the fifth-place consolation bracket, and scored their largest margin of victory of the night, 60-24. Marion lost to Clearwater in the fifth-place match, 30-48.
Consistent with his upbeat assessment, Adkins picked two losses as individual Warrior highlights.
“Brody Carroll losing to Jared Fiscus from Chanute, who’s ranked in Class 4A and all-class, by one point — that’s a phenomenal match for Brody,” Adkins said. “Colten Johnson lost to the number-one-ranked all-class wrestler in the state of Kansas at 160 pounds, Sam Son of Chanute, by only five points.”
Adkins singled out sophomore Zach Lewman, with a 3-2 record for the meet, as one of his younger wrestlers who is making positive strides.
“Zach Lewman has come so far from last year,” Adkins said. “He lost almost every match he wrestled last year, and he’s winning matches for us regularly this year.”
The Warriors have almost a full month before their next tournament, and Adkins said that’s by design.
“We used to go to a tournament the week we got back from Christmas, and I don’t do that anymore. I do that because I want them to spend time and have fun with their families,” Adkins said.
“Hopefully they run, and they’re usually pretty good about doing some things on their own,” Adkins said. “If they don’t, they’re going to pay when they get back because they’ll lose a lot of what they’ve gained so far.”
If his team picks up in January right where they left off going into the break, Adkins believes good things are in store for the Warriors.
“I’m looking forward to having quite a few medalists in February,” Adkins said. “That’s the goal.”
Beretta Janzen, 3-1; Angel Funk, 0-4; Eric Regnier, 2-3; Brayden Putter, 2-1; Brody Carroll, 4-1; Zac Dvorak, 0-4; Quinton Hett, 0-1; Cole Lewman, 3-1; Colten Johnson, 3-1; Kyle Palic, 2-2; Zach Lewman, 3-2; Nathan Cyr, 0-2; John Nordquist, 0-1; Evan Slater, 4-0.