The Marion Warriors wrestling team faces a question of leadership this season, coach Chad Adkins said.
“Leadership will be different this year,” Adkins said. “We are definitely down in that category. We are going to have a challenge ahead.”
After losing two key senior leaders, Kyle Palic and Adam Janzen, who placed first and fourth at state and lead the team to a sixth place finish, Adkins said the teams’ character is different this year.
“Sometimes, it takes the right kids to help keep energy focused,” he said. “We’ve got some goofballs but we’ll do fine. We have a lot of ability on the team. I’m pumped for the season.”
At 160 pounds, senior Remington Putter will likely step into a leadership role, having qualified for and won several matches at state the past two years.
“This is Remington’s last shot,” Adkins said. “He’s got goals. He will definitely have to work harder than he ever has before if he wants to bring home a state medal.”
The roster is down this season leaving the team open in the lighter weight classes at 106 and 113 pounds, he said.
Practice-wise, the team is ahead of schedule but Adkins said there’s more the team has to learn about itself.
“We’ve been able to move past some of the more basic stuff and get on to some new stuff, but it’s hard to tell where things will fall team-wise,” he said.
Adkins said the need to win at every weight class becomes more imperative when giving up team points at open weights.
However, he is excited to see a core group of juniors take the mat again, many of whom have two years of varsity experience.
“Jarrett Johnson, Bryce Shults, Noah Albin, Ryan Cochran, and A.J. Cogdill, they’ve all grown and gotten stronger,” he said. “I’m excited about where they’re at. They’re ready to take it further. It’s a natural progression.”
Cogdill weighs in at 120 pounds, Johnson is 126, Shults is 138, Albin is 145, and Cochran is 220.
Kolton Brewer and Jared Rahe weigh-in around 160 but who fills in at 152 pounds or 170 pounds depends on if either wishes to cut weight, and who wins in team sparring.
At 132-pounds and 120-pounds, brothers Ezra and Ethan Darnall will get scrappy for Marion this year, too.
Charlie Nordquist, a strong freshman, will likely wrestle varsity at 182 pounds.
Sophomore Tyler Palic will wrestle varsity at 195 pounds this year.
“Last year he wrestled the same weight class against bigger wrestlers, but he’s put on a bunch of weight this year and is actually right at 194 pounds,” Adkins said.
Senior Adam Kjellin and sophomore Jarrett McLinden will have to sort things out at the 285-pound weight class, Adkins said.
Brock Mitchell and Braydin Sippel are on the roster, too.
As for goals, Adkins said he would like to see the team, “wrestle better each week, win regionals, and continue our success at the state tournament.”
The Warriors hit the mat at 4 p.m. Dec. 4 at Burlington in a dual tournament to start the season.