Preseason Glance: Practice begins for Trojan grapplers
The chill in the air indicates it’s time for the winter sports season, but temperatures have been quite different inside the Fairfield High School wrestling room.
Since the start of wrestling practice last Monday, 20 sweat-drenched high-schoolers have been tucked in the corner of FHS for about 2 hours each evening. Head coach Steve Miller, new assistant coaches Randy Fulsaas and Curt Bjork as well as volunteer assistant Adam Foreman have been leading the wrestlers in a variety of workouts in the humid, padded room.
The Trojans are sharpening their basic skills, shaking off the rust and working on their conditioning all in the name of getting back into “wrestling shape.” With only a short time to prepare for the 18-meet, four-month season, the wrestlers must find a balance between fine-tuning technique and strength training and conditioning.
Miller has been pleased with the hard-working group so far, and the coach’s expectations are reasonably high as he begins his second year at the program’s helm.
“I think we’ll be competitive,” Miller said. “One of our team goals is to win conference, but it’s definitely not going to be easy. There’s really no slouch team in our conference anymore, but I feel comfortable we should have a pretty full lineup by midseason.”
The Trojans lost five wrestlers to graduation but return just about everyone else from last season’s squad. The returning wrestlers should fill in the same spots they held last year, and a couple newcomers are expected to contribute immediately.
The wrestling program hasn’t had the benefit of big numbers in recent years and boasts a 20-member squad in preseason practices. Headlining the list of returnees are three returning state qualifiers: seniors Seth Davisson, Ammon Shaner and Jake Mineart. They are joined by another senior with state-qualifying hopes in Aaron Gevock, as well as experienced junior Brett Scott and top underclassmen Bryce Lunsford, Dalton McCarroll and Dakota Nye.
And what the team lacks in numbers, Miller believes it makes up for in experience.
“About everybody in here saw some varsity time last season because we haven’t had big numbers the last couple of years,” said Miller. “It’s a double-edged sword. You don’t have the depth, but the kids you do have in here get a lot of one-on-one coaching, and they get a lot of experience.”
“Obviously I’d like to have 50 kids out, but the reality of it is this is a tough sport and there aren’t a lot of kids that can do it,” he added.
Fairfield opens its season at a Nov. 29 quadrangular in Centerville.