By Travis Smola
Vicksburg’s wrestling program has seen its share of struggles the last few years. It may finally be on the path to turning the corner as it fields one of the most experienced teams in a while. “What I’m looking for is just to build,” Head Coach Jeff Mohney said.
“A lot of these freshman that are coming up have been wrestling in the My Way program at the middle school, so they’re not coming into it green,” Mohney said.
He said he’s had to spend less time working on the basics with both the wrestlers and the parents this year because the youth wrestling program has already taught the basics. There are still a few holes in different weight classes. But the Bulldogs saw the arms of Kenny Stermer, Gunnar Neimandomski, Carter Mann, Ty Barnes, JP Culver being raised a few times at their first home quad meet.
In fact, Mohney said he only has two wrestlers this year who are new to the sport. Some of the freshman now have six or more years of experience. He also said they did a few off-season training sessions, but he’s also been encouraging the boys to take up a fall sport to keep in shape and help keep that team mentality.
In the early part of the season, he said they aren’t worried about scores. Their focus is just getting the boys experience before conference meets start. The influx of new experience means they should be able to start building the team properly through JV level experience this year. In the past, they’ve had to use inexperienced, younger wrestlers at the varsity level simply due to lack of depth.
“Our upper classmen are going to go to the varsity events and these freshmen are going to actually get some JV experience instead of just throwing them right to the wolves to get beat up by the varsity,” Mohney said.
He’s excited by the prospects for this season and the future because the My Way wrestling program is now about 50 kids strong. It should go a long way to helping fill some of the holes the high school program has had recently.
“We weren’t able to compete, and our motto was to have fun, which it still is. But now we’re going to work a little harder and see if we can’t start competing while we’re having fun,” Mohney said.