By Pat Dailey (For OzarkSportsZone.com)
Branson had three state medalists last season for the first time in coach Garrett Hawkins’ four years with the Pirates and the top finisher from that trio is back.
Kyshin Isringhausen burst upon the scene in a big way as a freshman last winter. As a 113-pounder, he compiled a 35-4 record that included a Kinloch Classic championship on his way to a berth at state. He capped his season with a pin to take third place at state.
Isringhausen, who has jumped to 126 for his sophomore campaign, didn’t let up in the off-season. Isringhausen will be out to become the second state champion in the program’s history.
“Kyshin has continued to develop his wrestling over the spring, summer (and) fall by competing in multiple national-level events, camps and workouts,” coach Garrett Hawkins said. “I expect him to continue growing as a wrestler and have a great season.”
Branson also brings back senior Cristian Berumen. He showed improvement throughout last season and posted a 27-13 record and qualified for State. Hawkins expects him to pick up where he left off.
“Cristian really took some huge steps last year and started to wrestle at a higher level,” Hawkins said. “I expect (him) to continue to compete at a high level.”
Branson’s other leaders figure to be senior 182-pounder Ethan Stout, freshman 138-pounder TJ Stormet and sophomore 170-pounder Cade Grimm.
“I hope to see (Stout) surprise a lot of people and wrestle into the post-season,” Hawkins said. “Stormet has had a lot of success at Youth USA wrestling. I believe Cade will blossom into one of the areas most physical wrestlers.”
Grimm is making the jump from 152 to 170.
On the girls side, Erin Bohmont will be looking to make her way to state for a third straight season. The 138-pound senior’s highest finish at state thus far is third place two years ago.
Neah Finkbone returns at 125 for her senior season after falling one win short of making state. Hawkins is looking forward to her finishing off her career with a trip to state.
“She has an outstanding work ethic and had a great off-season,” Hawkins said. “She spent a lot of time on the mat training.”
The Lady Pirates welcome aboard Bri Bettis, a 130-pound sophomore transfer from West Plains. She qualified for state as a freshman for the Zizzers.
Hawkins is preaching to the Pirates and Lady Pirates to raise their standards on a daily basis.
“I expect individuals to build off their success from last season and pour their hearts and effort into everything we do,” he said. “(I want them) to show grit and get out of their comfort zone by pushing themselves and teammates each and every day. (By) doing this, we will gain the confidence needed to go out and compete with anybody.”