By Pat Dailey (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Marshfield coach Matt Holt likes to look back on Daylon Kanengieter’s progress on the gridiron and thinks it stemmed from his success on the wrestling mat.
“He gained confidence in wrestling and carried it over to football, the same with a lot of our guys,” Holt said. “Now that they’ve had some success in football, we’re expecting that confidence to continue on as they come back to the mat.”
Kanengieter’s senior season on the gridiron culminated in his selection as the Big Eight East Offensive Player of the Year. Now Holt is counting on the carryover effect from one sport to another to lead to big things from Kanengieter this winter.
“We’re expecting Daylon to get higher on the medal stand at state,” Holt said. “He was sixth place last year. Last year, it was nice for him to get a medal. He’s set higher goals for himself this year. We expect him to climb that medal stand.”
Kanengieter, who will compete at either 195 or 220 pounds, will be counted on to be the Jays’ leader in their practice room.
“As a freshman, he was a first-year wrestler,” Holt said. “He got thrown to the wolves that first year as a freshman. We had Deryl Vannostrand and Clay Wilson, who were both State medalists. As a freshman, he got thrown into that group. After the graduated, he took the reins ever since. He’s been outstanding for us.”
Kanengieter, who was 37-6 as a junior a year ago, is part of an experienced Marshfield lineup that has the Jays in an optimistic mood.
“We’re fortunate that we return so much,” Holt said. “We return eight or nine starters and have to fill in four or five spots. We’ve got a pretty good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen. We expect to be solid.”
Eli Steffen, fresh from compiling a 41-9 record, returns with high expectations. He missed out on medaling at State a year ago by one win.
“Eli wants to get on the medal stand,” Holt said. “We’re looking for him to bring home a medal.”
Garrett Cantrell is coming off a football season in which he was named to the All-Big Eight East First-Team as a linebacker. Cantrell was the surprise of the Jays’ camp last season and now expectations are for him to make a run at state.
“He really took off last year,” Holt said. “We were not expecting that from him, to be honest. He had a good sophomore year on junior varsity. But what we did last year was incredible. He was in tournament finals and all-conference. I expect him to qualify for State and bring home a medal.”
Holt is looking forward to juniors Dusty Stevens, Matthew Derecichei and Ben Wirtell getting their chance to shine at the varsity level.
“They were sitting behind seniors last year as sophomores,” Holt said. “They were nearly unbeatable on the junior varsity level. Dustin stepped into the varsity lineup when Eli got hurt for a while. We’re expecting big things from those three. They will be at 152, 160 and 182. We don’t know who will be where. They’re all at 160 now. We’ve told them, ‘You three figure it out, but don’t be at the same weight class.’”
Damian Dockery is a junior and three-year starter. He was all-conference as a freshman and sophomore at lower weights.
Like everyone, Holt was disappointed to not have an overly busy summer due to COVID-19.
“One thing I’m worried about is not having the off-season we’re used to having. We didn’t go to the (Northeast Oklahoma) Dual Camp that we usually go to,” Holt said. “Freestyle and Greco wrestling got cancelled also. We were able to get duals in with Ozark, Nixa and Willard. But we were not able to go to camps that we usually go to and get 20 matches in.
“I know a lot of schools were in the same boat as us,” he added. “Without seeing the guys wrestling in the off-season like we usually do, we still have some big question marks.”