Young team of wrestlers 5th at UNK
THS records at UNK
Vinnie Angell, 6-1
Anthony Baker, 2-6
Luke Carey, 2-5
Gus Dent, 3-8
Clayton Himpel, 10-1
Asher Huseman, 7-2
Thomas Miller, 2-5
Justin Soetaert, 14-3
Matt Soetaert, 4-1
Jake Spencer, 4-1
Joseph Wolf, 9-4
Seth Wolf, 6-2
Experience must not be the only requirement for success.
Even though most of its members had never competed at the varsity level, the Tonganoxie High wrestling team had a rewarding trip to the University of Nebraska-Kearney wrestling camp June 28-30 in Kearney, Neb.
The Chieftains finished fifth out of 26 teams at the camp thanks to a combined record of 69-39 for THS grapplers.
Tonganoxie coach Jeremy Goebel said the wrestlers had fun and bonded while gaining chemistry and a little experience for next season. The young team, featuring a roster with eight competitors lacking much or any varsity mat time, was excited for every dual at the camp and the enthusiasm helped the wrestlers pick up victories — eight of the 12 Chieftains had winning records.
Because the team has a lot of freshmen, Goebel said, it was important for the young guys to face high school competition now. That allows them to be more prepared when the actual season begins in the winter.
“They’ve been there, done that. It’s a great stepping stone,” the coach said of the camp.
The top three win totals at the camp among Tonganoxie wrestlers belonged to Justin Soetaert (14-3), Clayton Himpel (10-1) and Joseph Wolf (9-4).
Soetaert’s performance earned him the UNK camp’s Legitimate Tough Guy award. Goebel said he won it with his extra work. At each dual, a wrestler could go to a bullpen and compete in exhibition matches.
“One time he went in there and got five matches before we were even done with the dual,” Goebel said.
The coach praised Soetaert for being a great example to his younger teammates.
“He takes every bit of wrestling and runs with it,” Goebel said. “He wants to be in that (practice) room all the time. He wants to get better and you can’t ask for a better leader.”
Overall, the camp was a positive experience for THS because the team’s success allowed the wrestlers to get excited about the upcoming year and the squad’s potential.
“It was exciting. It got the kids pumped up, knowing what is in store if they continue to work,” Goebel said.
Considering some of the Chieftains’ victories came against state qualifiers and placers, their potential looks promising and their coach said the camp was a good place to start.
“It’s only gonna get better in terms of climbing that ladder,” Goebel said. “If they’re starting that climb early and having some success like that, it’s only gonna be greater.”