WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW: Van Buren wrestlers an experienced bunchHeisel to lead the Warriors in ‘13
Head Coach: Richard Daughtery, 4th year
Key returnees: Jacob Heisel (Sr.), Tyler Runyon (Sr.), Mitch Garrels (Sr.)
Outlook: The Warriors have finally grown up and no longer have a young squad. Van Buren is capable of snatching more victories this season because of its depth.
Last season, the Warriors only had one senior on the roster.
“We had a good season, but it was a young group,” Van Buren coach Richard Daugherty said. “We didn’t win as many as we wanted to.”
The experience level on this year’s Van Buren squad, it’s fair to say, is higher. Three of last year’s juniors that came on toward the end of the season should be huge assets for the Warriors. Senior Jacob Heisel is returning at either the 132 or 138 mark after qualifying for the state tournament last season. Heisel will be seeking yet another state tournament berth.
Tyler Runyon, another senior, will be wrestling at 113 and Mitch Garrels will be a heavyweight registering in at 195.
Dakota LaRue, Jesse Fuller and Hunter Coffman will be there to fill out the roster. Unity Daugherty, the daughter of assistant coach Andy Daugherty and the niece of the head coach, is the only girl on the team and will wrestle in the 106-113 range.
Last season small numbers hurt the program, but this year there should be enough bodies to cover weight classes.
“I see us finishing in top half of a lot of tournaments,” Daugherty said. “I expect us to be in the top half of the conference.”
Perennial power Mediapolis is still the pride of the conference after finishing in fourth place as a team at the state finals for 2A last season. Expect the Bulldogs to be extremely tough yet again. The Warriors will compete against them multiple times this season.
Van Buren will begin its season Dec. 5 at the Albia Triangular. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Freemont also will be there to challenge the Warriors.
Van Buren 2013-14 Schedule: Varsity Wrestling
12/5 @ Albia
12/7 @ Pekin*
12/12 vs. Lone Tree, Highland
12/14 @ Tri-County
12/21 @ Fort Madison
1/16 @ New London
1/18 @ Wayne*
1/25 @ I-35 Truro*
2/1 @ SEISC Conference Meet*
* — tournament