Newton junior Ray Schroder didn't seem to focus on his losses at the state tournament. He only seemed focused on what lies ahead.
Schroder went 1-2 in his first experience at Wells Fargo Arena, but took stock in every one of his moves and matches to make sure he's as prepared as possible for a possible trip back to state in his senior year.
“It was awesome. I got to wrestle at state, and I won a match,” Schroder said. “It did suck to lose, but I’ll be back next year, so I’ll have one more chance.”
The tournament wasn't kind to Schroder in the beginning, as he suffered a first-round loss to Des Moines Roosevelt's Sawyer Kochel. The two had an epic match earlier in the season that Kochel also got the best of, but this time it sent Schroder to the consolation bracket.
“I just need to be more offensive,” Schroder said. “I’ll have to put the work in during the offseason and just get used to taking more shots. That’s really what cost me some matches, I just didn’t shoot enough.”
It was in the first round of consolations that Schroder scored his one victory of the tournament. Facing Clinton freshman Justin Guilliams, Schroder built up a 5-2 lead after the second period. Despite Guilliams making a furious comeback bid, Schroder held him off and shored up at least one more match on Friday.
That Friday match may have been one of the most grueling of Schroder’s season, but it ended in a three-overtime loss to Fort Dodge’s Riley Prescott, whom he also lost a close overtime decision to in the regular season. Regulation scoring in the match came only from escapes, and Prescott eventually earned the victory with a stalling point from Schroder and another escape.
“We already wrestled four, then in overtime I got dinged for stalling and that cost me the point,” Schroder said. “I was just kind of in the moment for that match. I knew I had to win or I’d be done, so I just tried to focus on that match.”
Although he was finished by Friday morning, Schroder stuck around to support teammate Derrick Hurt for the remainder of the weekend. He likely was also sticking around to get a little bit more advanced scouting on his future competition both at state and in the regular season.
“Ray works hard and really wants to do well, he just needs to be more confident in his offense,” Newton coach Bill Reed said. “He wrestled three matches, so next year he can come down and won’t have to go through the awesomeness of the arena and everything. He can just focus on getting on the podium, and it’ll be good leadership for the rest of our team.”
Schroder finished the year with a mark of 34-13 and held the No. 10 spot in the final 195-pound rankings in Class 3A. On top of planning to play for Newton’s rugby club again this season, Schroder is anticipating a heavy offseason regimen to keep him prepared for a return trip to Des Moines next season.
“He’ll probably take a week or two off, then get to work in the offseason,” Reed said. “That’s really where it happens now. He’ll just work on some technique to get ready for next season.”
Even though he’s already looking ahead, Schroder was still living in the moment after he had finished wrestling in his first state meet. He and Hurt got Newton back to Wells Fargo Arena a year after the school was shut out for state qualifiers, and he hopes to continue that streak with some of his teammates.
“It feels really good to be a part of, and hopefully we can get a few more here next year,” Schroder said. “We just need to keep improving.”