A room for improvement?
It's a good thing the Tonganoxie High wrestling team has a new home.
With more than 30 athletes competing for the Chieftains this season, timing couldn't have been better for the team to move from its previous practice home in the multipurpose building near Beatty Field to a new wrestling room west of the THS gymnasium.
The new wrestling room, which was built as part of renovations to the high school, is two to three times larger than the room near the football field.
"The new wrestling room's absolutely awesome," said THS coach Jeremy Goebel, who begins his fifth season with the Chieftains. "It's a great addition to building a wrestling program here and with our numbers this year, it couldn't have worked out any better.
"That extra space is greatly appreciated by the coaching staff and the wrestlers. I think it gives the wrestlers something to be proud to be a part of and a place we can call home that's one of the best in the state, I think, in terms of room and quality."
It could be a quality season for the Chieftains as well, as the team lost just two seniors in Jeff Frank and Jacob Ferris to graduation last season. The team's lone state qualifier, Kevin Hamm, is just a sophomore this season.
"I think our whole team will be strong due to the numbers, which will be able to push one another in our wrestle-offs," Goebel said. "It will be a lot of competition in that matter."
This year's senior class includes five wrestlers -- Derek Parrett, Jonathan Ferris, Jeff Price, Kyle Cobb and Ben Langston.
A slew of returners, including Hamm, Steve Davis, Ryan Stockman, Cameron Adcox and Matt Brock, also are expected to contribute for the Chieftains.
The team opens the season Saturday with the inaugural Kaw Valley League dual tournament.
Tonganoxie will wrestle Mill Valley at 9 a.m., Piper at 1 p.m., Santa Fe Trail at 2:30 p.m. and Basehor-Linwood at 4 p.m. in the BLHS gymnasium.
The Chieftains are getting back in the swing of practice after the Thanksgiving break. The same thing will occur with the winter break in a few weeks, but Goebel said his team seems prepared.
"I feel that we're ready," Goebel said. "Just like every other coach, with the winter season, you get a head start then a break and right back into it again. But the nice thing is, every school's like that, not just us."
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