Warriors grapplers eye better state finish
The picture probably looks utterly familiar to 195-pound Marion Warriors senior wrestler Tyler Palic, who was state runner-up as a junior after qualifying for the Class 3-2-1A meet as a freshman and sophomore.
It would, considering Tyler’s brother, Kyle, did the same thing as a senior in 2014-15, en route to not just capturing Marion High School’s first and only state title, but Marion County’s as well.
Just as they were three years ago with Kyle — a current Marion assistant — the Warriors’ best hopes for a state title rest in a Palic’s hands.
Fellow senior Charlie Nordquist is the only other Warriors wrestler second-year coach Tyler McMichael has back with state tournament experience.
McMichael sent five qualifiers to Hays a year ago, where the Warriors finished 10th.
Gone to graduation are Bryce Shults, Jarrett Johnson, and Noah Albin.
Still, McMichael’s not worried about the Warriors this year.
“I think we’ve got a few wrestlers who could break through some barriers and get on the podium at state,” he said. “I think that one of the things we need to improve on this year is wrestling on top and being able to score back points consistently.”
Nordquist barely missed wrestling for a medal a year ago, dropping a 20-12 decision to Matt Cruickshank of St. Mary, the eventual fourth-place finisher.
Nordquist is up to 220 this season after wrestling at 182 pounds a year ago.
Of the 16 classes, McMichael is able to fill all but the 120 and 126-pound slots.
Joining the senior duo of Palic and Nordquist are Colton Brewer (160), heavyweight Jarret McLinden, and Brock Mitchell.
Mitchell and sophomore Calib Mallory will fit in at either the 138- or 145-pound class.
“We have several newcomers and they are all doing great and picking things up fast,” said McMichael. “We should have a few that are filling weight classes like 145, 152, 170, and 220.”
Freshmen Forest Slater and Will Allevan fill out the 106 and 113-pound divisions, respectively, and fans should keep an eye on the Palics’ freshman brother, Todd, at 170 pounds.
The 152-pound class is spoken for with junior Kyle Horton. Classmate Ethan Darnall will slot in at 132.
Sophomore Cooper Carpenter provides depth at 170 and Hunter Helmer takes over at 182 with Nordquist’s jump.
“We face a fairly hard schedule this year,” McMichael said. “We’ve traded out one of our smaller school tournaments for one that has bigger schools like 4 and 5A. I’m looking forward to seeing all of these bigger schools so we can get a change of pace and see some new people. I feel very excited about the upcoming year.”
Last modified Nov. 30, 2017