Physicality and strength are key to a successful move in wrestling. You need the strength to execute and the willingness, the desire, the physicality to try just about anything.
“This season is a different season. We usually have some kids coming up through USA who have some foundation but we’re back to basics with them. We do have some really advanced kids but we do have good athletes who don’t have a clue,” Douglas Middle School wrestling head coach Clay Ewing said.
Right now, representing the Bearcats, is a crop of wrestlers learning on the fly. Like all teams, there’s multiple levels of skill on display.
Everything from sixth graders in a singlet for the first time to eighth graders with their eyes set on making it to the high school team and every possibility in between for the young teens of DMS.
The last week culminated in two different meets, a one-on-one battle against the students from Dean Morgan Junior High School and the Douglas Invitational Nov. 16 with 20 other schools. The Bearcats and Comets dueled for hours in the school gymnasium before DMJHS ultimately came out on top.
“Dean Morgan’s one of the tougher schools in the state,” Ewing said. “We’re a really young bunch. They’re learning how to work hard.”
After another school week of practices and work, the Bearcats faced off with the Comets once more at the Douglas Invite. Before the tournament, the young wrestlers had another opportunity to break their way into the “A” group. The meets are divided into two groups — A and B — with different paths forward. At the Saturday tournament, the A wrestlers competed in a double-elimination bracket and the B wrestlers went round robin in their groups.
Two of the A wrestlers from Douglas won their weight classes. Tanner Johnson won at 90 pounds and JT Vrooman won at 95. Luke Ewing took second in the 115 pound weight classw while Blain Johnson earned third among the 75 pound wrestlers and Tucker Edwards came in fourth 1t 105.
As a team, DMS finished the tournament with a second-place team score. With three round robin tournaments going on the B side, six Bearcats took first place. Guthry Gates, Mason Gates, Jimmy Stoltenberg, Kash Lenzen, Skyler Julian and Zander Vollman all won their groups.
Cheering on the teenage wrestlers, next to their friends and family, were members of the high school wrestling team. Clay mentioned that having them in attendance was a huge boost for his team. He said that they all thrive off the support from wrestlers they look up to and want to learn from.
“They know their stuff, they can take some of our better kids and help them grow,” Clay said.
The next time the Douglas wrestlers take to the mats, they may not have the same configuration as last weekend. Before the team is divided into the A and B groups, they have a chance to challenge one another at practice. Whoever comes out on top of the intrasquad bouts gets to wrestle in the A group at the next dual. The Bearcat team will be back on the mats at home again Dec. 5 against Sage Valley Junior High School.