BHS wrestlers excited to start season
Kit Harris switched gears quickly from Saturday to Monday as he jumped from junior high school to high school wrestling.
It’s become an annual move for the coach. As the Baldwin Junior High School season ends at the Frontier League tournament, he begins preparing for the Baldwin High School season to begin two days later.
After Monday’s opening BHS wrestling practice, Harris was happy and excited for the 2009-2010 season.
“We had a great first day of practice,” he said. “A large percentage of the room has wrestled. That’s going to make a huge difference with how fast we teach things this season. We got through probably eight of our 19 skill drills today that I want to get through this week.”
His wrestlers agreed with him. One of his two returning state qualifiers thought the first day was a success.
“It was a good day,” senior Josh Hanson said. “It was a lot better first day than most years. Everyone in here pretty much knew what they were doing. It was a good start. We did some pretty advanced stuff for the first day. We got into some takedowns and finishes. That’s stuff that we normally don’t do for at least the first week.”
One drawback to the opening session was the numbers of participants. Last week, Harris reported more than 30 BHS students showed interest in the sport, but around 10 of those students didn’t make the first practice.
“Our numbers are still down,” Harris said. “They are higher than last year, but not where I want them to be. We had more than 30 come to the meeting and sign up, but several who didn’t show up and give the sport a try. That’s discouraging, but I’m really encouraged with the kids we have here. They are great wrestlers and hard workers.”
Despite the smaller numbers, most of the Bulldogs participating this season have wrestled before. Many of them have wrestled for several years, too.
“There are quite a few young guys, but most of them know what they’re doing,” Hanson said. “Most have been wrestling for quite some time. The junior high program helps give everyone some experience before they come into high school.”
Hanson and sophomore Andrew Morgan are the Bulldogs’ only returnees who qualified for the Class 4A state tournament a year ago. However, freshman Bryce Shoemaker (103 pounds) and Hanson (135) are preseason ranked in their weight classes. Shoemaker is ranked second, while Hanson is ranked fifth.
“I’m glad that the season has started,” Hanson said. “Ever since last year at state, I’ve been pretty mad. I’ve been working pretty hard to make up for that loss.”
Baldwin will practice for nearly three weeks before it kicks off the season at the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational on Dec. 5.
“We will start building our conditioning base tomorrow morning with sprints,” Harris said. “We have to get their bodies used to drilling and wrestling. Their bodies will be sore this week, but it won’t take long for that soreness to wear off. There is no need to try and do any kind of peaking right now physically, with technique or conditioning. We are training for the long haul this winter.”
If it were up to Hanson, he’d prefer to start competing next week.
“It would be nice if we only had to practice one or two weeks before the first meet,” he said. “I’ll be excited when we do start competing.”
The Bulldogs will be on the road for most of the season. They will host a dual on Jan. 28 and the Baldwin Invitational on Jan. 30.