'Gritty' WHS wrestling team hopes to make a mark
The Worthington High wrestling team has an abundance of big, strong, talented athletes this season.
Might it mean the Trojans of coach Kirk Feit will be a proverbial heavyweight in the highly competitive Big South Conference and Section 2AA?
“Steel sharpens steel,” Feit said. “If we want to compete with those guys we’ve got to be able to wrestle with them. I like the grittiness and toughness of our section.”
Worthington opens the season Thursday with a triangular meet at Central Lyon, then hosts Pipestone Area and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg on Dec. 9.
Among the sizable seniors returning to the Trojan lineup are twins Cole and Tanner Hennings. Cole is ranked seventh among AA heavyweights in the Guillotine’s preseason poll, while Tanner will be probably be at 220.
Kevin Galvez and Octavio Flores are also seniors who could be consistent winners in the upper weights.
Tanner Hennings was fourth in the “Super Section” tournament at 195 last season, while Cole, a Big South champion two years ago as a sophomore, was third.
“We’re really going to look to lean on them at the end of the lineup for some big wins this year,” Feit said.
The Trojans had some terrible misfortune last February, as several athletes came down with a skin problem that prevented the team from competing at the team section tournament. And that was on top of Covid issues that shortened and marred the season.
Feit is hopeful for a much smoother campaign this winter.
“I sure hope so,” he said. “The kids deserve it.”
Other athletes who could emerge to help the Trojans include juniors Mason Schutz (152), Oscar Galvez (120) and Ethan Meyer (126). All three are tough matmen who have endured considerable adversity in the past. Meyer missed the final few meets with a knee injury last year.
Youthful wrestlers with exceptional promise include Miat Htoo and Chase Byrne.
There is considerable strength and depth throughout the Trojan lineup.
“We’re going to have the mindset to compete and I think we’ll have some individuals who could really make some strides and possibly get to the state tournament this year,” Feit said.
The schedule, however, is rugged, featuring powerful Big South squads like Jackson County Central, Fairmont/Martin County West and Marshall.
“It’s a blessing and curse, because you wrestle some of the top individuals in our section all year,” Feit said.
The Trojans lost 100-win stars Damon Schutz and Jaden Hennings, plus team leader Kent Lais and several other seniors from last year’s team that was 19-9 in dual meets.
“Those are big losses, but you hope the next guys can step up,” Feit said. “They’ve got big shoes to fill.”
For certain, after last year’s lousy luck the Trojans seem due for some good fortune.
“I agree with you 100 percent,” Feit said with a chuckle. “All teams are good, but the ones that put everything together, stay healthy and have a little luck can really make some big moves at the end. We’re hoping to be one of those teams this year.”