Branson has two returning state qualifiers to lead the way in the room this year. Collin Andrews and Caden Lorenz both made trips to the Class 3 State Tournament last year.
Andrews lost both of his matches in the 160-pound weight class at the state tournament, but still finished with a 31-9 record.
“I have high expectations for Collin,” Coach Garrett Hawkins said. “He has a great work ethic. I believe Collin will pick up where he left off and have a strong senior year finish. I believe he can be a state placer this season.”
He will fall between 160 and 182 this season.
Lorenz also lost his first two matches of the state tournament to finish 35-15 overall in his sophomore season. That experience will help him this season.
“Being a state qualifier as a sophomore in Class 3 District 3 is a huge accomplishment. It’s no surprise because Caden is one of the hardest workers in the room,” Hawkins said. “He has been working hard in the off-season to insure a strong junior season. I believe that Caden’s hard work will pay off and he will be a state placer this year.”
Christian Cartright, Austin Hadaller, Reagan Ulrich, Alex Maldonado, Max Petruccelli, Tavany Richards and Severo Vargas all return from last year’s district squad. Cartwright has stood out for his offseason work according to Hawkins. He is expected to wrestle in the 120 to 126-pound range in his junior season.
Hawkins also likes the strides he has seen out of Maldonado and Vargas since last season. This year they will wrestle 152 and 285 pounds, respectively. James Miller missed district last year because of an injury, but he is back healthy for his senior season after two years as a varsity starter.
There will be a lot of competition in the room for varsity spots. Some other names to watch include:
Juniors: Quan Vo (126), Nick Halliburton (145), Colton Chrisman (120), Gage Curtis (138), Austin Hadaller (145)
Sophomores: Erin Bohmont (152), Ethan Stout (160), Christian Bereum (160), Tyke Wells (220)
Freshmen: Tyler Cartright, Anthony Cornett, Jason Browning, David Hadaller, Evan Davies, Ulysses Keller, Kaliq York, Zack Oosahwe, Lance Hinds, Ross Chapman, Sam Wood, Remington Collins, Gabe Peek
Bohmont has had success in all girls tournaments over the years. This past summer she was the 2018 MO/USA Women’s Folkstyle Champion. This year she will have the chance to try and qualify for the first ever MSHSAA Girls State Wrestling Tournament.
Overall Hawkins just wants to see continued improvement from his team this year.
“Our goal is to be the best that you can be and to reach your full potential no matter if you are varsity or JV. I expect individuals build off their success from last season by getting out the comfort zone and pushing themselves each and every day to reach their goals,” Hawkins said. “As a team our goal is to compete, doesn’t matter if it’s a dual or tournament. Just go out with confidence knowing that we can compete with anybody.”