Classifieds | Place a class ad | PDF Edition | Home Delivery | How to cancel
By A.J. JANKOWSKI
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School wrestling team won’t send several of its starters to this weekend’s duals at Thunder Mountain. That’s not to say, however, that Bill McLaughlin’s expectations have wavered one bit.
If anything, it’s made the head coach more determined to see his Kings come away victorious.
"I'm not conceding anything," he said. "I'm not sending up a team that can't win. I expect them to win."
Apart from Trevor Wutzke (98 pounds), Nate Fousel (170), Caleb Ford (220) and Cody Ring (Heavyweight), the rest of the Kayhi grapplers who will face Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas Friday and Saturday have not appeared in the starting lineup this year.
"I'm just sending the next man in," McLaughlin said. "If I didn't think the guys I'm sending could win matches, the No. 1 guy at the weight class would be going."
The same goes for the coaching position, as McLaughlin will stay in Ketchikan, and assistant coach Greg Molby will lead the Kings.
It’s an opportunity for some of the back-up wrestlers to experience being the No. 1 guy, McLaughlin said. All it takes is one twisted knee or an ankle caught under a body in a varsity match for them to be called upon to step up.
"They're one anything away from being in the No. 1 spot," McLaughlin said. "They know everything the (No. 1) guy knows. They're as tough as the other guy. They practice just as hard."
The Kings heading to Juneau and the weights they will wrestle at are: Wutzke (98 and 106 pounds), Josh Danao (120), Kyle Schnur (132), Andrew Walle (132), Hitsati Hudson (138), Ian Winter (138), Mikhail Bolshakoff (138), Bryce May (145 and 152), Davon Wake (160), Fousel (170 and 182), Ford (220), and Ring (heavyweight).
McLaughlin said Ford was going to wrestle at 220 pounds and at heavyweight, but "with not enough knowledge, I don't want that kind of weight on him.
"And, honestly, if Ford goes and Ring stays, Ring has nobody to practice with," he said. "They might as well both go."
McLaughlin named Ring team captain for the weekend; something the senior took to heart.
"It's really cool," Ring said. "I'm pretty sure I'm the only senior going, but it's really cool that I get to be the captain."
Other Kings are just as eager to prove their worth.
"I feel a little bit of pressure, but I'll still do my best and work my hardest," Hudson said. "I’m excited just to be able to perform."
Added Schnur: "It still feels the same. I still have to wrestle just as hard."
Besides, with five seniors in the starting lineup, it won’t be long until those competing this weekend in Juneau will be representing Kayhi at the regional tournament.
Friday will give them their first test.
"This sport is a process — you don't skip steps," McLaughlin said. "They're the future. There's a lot of seniors in that room that are going to be dropping off. We'll be looking squarely at these kids and saying, 'Hey, it's your time to pick it up and run with it.' This will be a good little taste for them."