Chinook, Harlem Grapplers Wrestle in Front of their Home Town Fans, Honor Seniors
January 25, 2023
The Chinook and Harlem wrestling teams got a chance to show Blaine County what they could do on the mat this past Friday and Saturday. The Sugarbeeters hosted their mixer on Friday night and Harlem hosted the Wildcat Invitational on Saturday.
Unlike football, volleyball or cross country the wrestling teams generally are on the road every week of the season. The Sugarbeeters have been able to hold their mixer late in the season and some years even included one at the start of their schedule. Harlem hasn't been able to host an event since 2020 having had to cancel the past couple of years due to Covid.
The meets are a chance to get on the mat and get a couple matches in, no seeding, no brackets, just wrestling. They also provide a good opportunity for the coaching staff and the wrestler to address specific areas and work to improve on. It's also the final time the seniors get to wrestle in front of their classmates and the community in general.
There are just a few weeks left in the season and the seniors took time to look back as well as forward. Chinook senior Lane Snider commented, "Wrestling means a lot to me, it has brought me a long ways since I was little. I've made so many fun memories, met a lot of cool people and made a lot of friends throughout the years. I'm happy to be where I am in life right now because of the sport and I wouldn't want to change anything about it." Looking ahead Snider stated, "Bunch of emotions. I'm happy because I know I won't have to cut weight anymore and I will be able to eat the food I enjoy eating. I'm also sad because I know I will never have the opportunity to step out on the mat again and compete. I won't be able to see some of the people I've really got to know throughout the sport. I would just like to thank the community for coming to our home meets. This year I think we had the biggest fan section out of all four years and it was very cool to see everyone come support us for our last home tournament."
'Beeter senior Tyler Schoen commented, "Wrestling has been a big part of my life, it's taught me discipline, patience and a lot of other life skills. Coming into these last few weeks I want to make this season memorable. At practices we are going to be pushing each other extremely hard to possibly pick up a team state championship. I would like to thank all the wrestling parents for supporting us at the tournaments and for keeping the food tote full."
Wildcat senior Landen Grey offered his thoughts, "My goal this year is to be a State placer again. Wrestling in Harlem for the last time is pretty hard. I've been wrestling for seven years and all these years I feel like I've been right on the edge. I'm working on thinking more about what I do. I wrestle pretty good at practice but then during the meets I get in my head and think way too much. I need to go into the meet with the same confidence. My coaches are pretty good helping me. We got four of them, Billy Joe, Jon Baker, Coach Stiffarm and Coach Faulkinberry. I love having Coach Faulkinberry as my coach because he's been coaching for so long and has coached me since junior high, so I love having him for my last year.
Lady Cat senior Amelia Blackcrow commented, "This is my eighth year of wrestling. I'm excited for senior night. I get pretty nervous wrestling in front of my family, but I only have one match. People from the community are there, that have never seen me wrestle before and that makes me nervous. I hope I place at Divisionals this year so that I can go to State. I placed 4th at State two years ago, last year I just missed out on the last day so I really want to place again."
'Beeter Head Coach, Ben Stroh commented on both mixers,"We kind of had a rough weekend wrestling at home and then at Harlem being so close to home. I am glad the team got to feel the pressure to compete that comes from wrestling so close to home and at home. Now that they felt that feeling they need to find a way to work though the nerves because the next time that kind of stress is going to be on them will be in the post season when each match matters and could dictate them going to state or not going to state.
Harlem Head Coach, Jonny Baker was thrilled with the weekend, "Having the Harlem Mixer just reminded us how much the home tournament means to the kids. We are hoping to have our Wildcat Invitational next year."
Assessing his teams performance Baker said, "We had a great day of wrestling Saturday. All three Senior wrestlers were celebrated for their achievements and then went out and won some matches with the home crowd cheering them on. Having parents and community in the bleachers was just the push they needed to build more confidence on the mat."
Baker was happy to see the Lady Cats get a chance to relax a bit, "The girls took the break from tourney life this weekend to work on some techniques and strategies and it really paid off. These mixers give them a breather from podium pressure, but they still racked up several wins. "
The Wildcats did very well according to Baker, "The boys continue to gain, after Chinook's mixer Friday we made some individual plans for Saturdays mixer at home. Had some really good matches and found our groove. Hoping to see that same confidence boost this weekend in Malta to get our final battle plans in place before divisionals."
As the season winds down Baker stated, "Hoping to finish regular season on a high note this coming weekend and turn our focus on divisionals. We still have some work to do.