By Travis Smola
Vicksburg’s wrestling program is still rebuilding, but Head Coach Jeff Mohney is hopeful it will improve as the season wears on.
“We’re still a young team. We’re still learning,” Mohney said after a quad meet at home. “I think we’ll get progressively better. As long as we stay healthy, we’ll compete towards the end of the season for sure.”
The Bulldogs didn’t do very well in the quad, losing 58-12 against Allegan and 48-24 against Otsego. Unfortunately, injuries and eligibility issues have played a role early on as their opponents often get their hands raised without even competing in several weight classes. “It’s pretty tough when you’re giving up six matches,” Mohney said. “That’s 36 points right off the bat.”
He’s hopeful some of the boys can come back from injury and others can get their grades up after the winter break. In the meantime, Mohney says he’ll continue to work with the middle school programs to raise awareness of the team. This year the team added only four freshmen. “I’d like to get 10 freshmen in a year so we can build. Forty strong would be nice,” he said.
While the team isn’t lighting it up in the win column, Mohney said they are enjoying the process. “Guys are having fun right now while they’re learning the sport,” he said. “It’s not all work to them.”
Mohney wrestled for former coach Ed Knapp back in the 80s and fondly remembers the crowds that used to pack the gym for wrestling. He wants to bring those days back, but expects it will take some time. “Back in the day, the stands were filled,” Mohney said. “That’s what we want, we want the buzz to be around wrestling.”