MONROE — Prairie City-Monroe’s wrestling season hasn’t yet begun, but in its first week of practice, Mustang coach Cory Waddell already sees some promise in the squad.
“The team has had a good first week of practice. We have pretty good numbers for our size school with 24 wrestlers,” Waddell said. “We should be able to fill every weight class. I have set some lofty goals for this squad and so far, they are responding positively.”
Filling every weight class is big for any wrestling team. Smaller schools usually have a tough time finding a wrestler for every weight. The fact that PCM has been able to do that means the team should earn some valuable forfeit points in its matches this year.
Returning district qualifiers Tristan Clark (126 pounds) and Ian Reed (138, 145) are both back to lead the Mustangs. Clark and Reed bring experience to the team, and Waddell like what he sees early on.
“We have set goals of a conference championship in both duals and a tournament title. We have a goal to reach the regional duals this year after just missing last year,” Waddell said.
When asked about whether any of the wrestlers could possibly end up competing for a spot at state in Des Moines, Waddell noted, “It’s really too early to tell, but I would say Tristan and Ian are looking good early in the season.”
Joining Clark, who won more than 25 matches a year ago, and Reed are returing district qualifiers Jade Coleman, Luke Cummings and Lucas Rains.
“With Jade, Luke and Lucas back, it makes us stronger at the 145-195 weight classes,” Waddell said.
The higher weight classes seem set for the Mustangs, bit the line-up at the lower end of the scale is less certain.
“We will be young in the lower weight classes with Freshman in the line-up at 106, 113 and 138,” Waddell said.
Some of those freshmen include Chase Palm, Xavier Miller, Chris Ellens and James Maggard.
Although developing the younger wrestlers is a focus for Waddell, he emphasized that, at the moment, the team is primarliy focused on conditioning. Waddell pointed out that if his guys get winded early, they have little chance of picking up points or going a full six minutes.
“We are currently working on getting our guys in wrestling shape,” he said. “We are doing extra running this year in an attempt to get better conditioned. More sprints and less long distance running. The guys are working harder in live wrestling situations and we have the heat in the wrestling room better regulated this year. Conditioning is a big part of our sport and I want all of our wrestlers to be able to go hard for 6 minutes.”
PCM’s wrestlers will hit the mat on Thursday, Dec. 5 when they host North Polk and Pleasantville for a varsity triangular.