Kickapoo wrestling will turn to a trio of seniors for leadership this season after having just one wrestler place at last year’s Ozark Conference meet.
Seniors Tristan Upp, Jason Norman and Evan Bowler will be the two wrestlers that coach Billy Buckley leans on for leadership this season.
“All three of these young men have been varsity wrestlers for us and each of them have different leadership qualities that will help our younger kids,” Buckley said. “As seniors it is now time for them to step up and lead our team in the practice room.”
Upp will wrestle in the 145 or 152-pound range this year, Norman will slot in at either 220 or 285 pounds and Bowler will be at 182 or 195 pounds.
Kickapoo will draw on a group of young wrestlers for success this year thanks to the middle school wrestling program.
“We will have a number of young kids in our program this year that have had the benefit of wrestling in our middle school program either at Cherokee or Carver,” Buckley said. “Having kids coming into the room with some experience will help the transition from middle school to high school wrestling.”
Marquise Gaten (145/152), Garrett Greve (132/138), Kevin McKeel (126/132) are all returning wrestlers that saw varsity mat time last year.
Buckley will look to use large numbers and competition within the squad to help the Chiefs improve each week.
“I know many coaches say it, but we really try to take one competition at a time. When we start we will be getting ready for our first duals with Glendale and Hillcrest and our first tournament in Neosho,” Buckley said. “But our overall goal is for our junior varsity kids to push our varsity kids and to try and get as many kids as possible to the State tournament.”