PITTSBURG — Wrestling season officially got underway Monday, as Pittsburg High School held its annual Purple vs. White Scrimmage in preparation for the regular season.
Although the Purple team came out on top 48-33, the day wasn’t about the score as much as it was about the experience for the team.
“I thought they looked pretty good for the week of practice,” PHS head coach Scott Rieck said. “Our returning players were about where I thought they would be, and I saw some good things from our freshman and sophomores, but primarily our freshmen. I was pleased with everybody’s performance.”
The scrimmage may have been defined by the performance of the underclassmen, but Coach Rieck said that he keeps the event in proper perspective.
“I don’t put that much stock in it,” he said. “I look at the things we need to work on, and for a lot of us, that’s being more aggressive and getting after it more. Another part of it was that they were pacing themselves a bit because they haven’t wrestled in a six-minute match before.”
Despite the relaxed nature of the scrimmage matches, it was still an opportunity for players to show off their improvement from the offseason.
“I thought A.J. Lair looked really good,” Rieck said. “He had a match with Skylur vonWinklepleck and then he had a match with David Green to finish up the night, and those are three guys who are wrestling for 138. I also thought Caleb Blansett looked really good. He wrestling 132 for us and he looked really sharp as well. Then the matchup between Joseph Tallie and Christian Hyde was another pretty good matchup.”
Ultimately, the day was about the freshmen going through the motions of game day, and understanding what it takes to compete in the Southeast Kansas League.
“A lot of this is about the younger guys, and making sure they know all of the details they need to do,” Rieck said. “Everything from skin check, nail check and hair check before the matches start. Checking into the table, making sure they have they’re strapped up and ready to go. All of those little things that they need to go through before going up against opponents like Carl Junction, Nevada or Webb City.”
In addition to being an opportunity for the players to get valuable experience, it’s also a time for Coach Rieck to see what areas need to be improved upon in practice before beginning the season.
“It’s confidence and believing in themselves to be able to do it,” Rieck said. “Knowing that no matter what the odds are, who they have to face or what the deficit is in a match that they might be in, that they can win. That’s the biggest thing with any activity, is to believe enough in themselves to be the best and to be a champion.”
-- Jordan Buckamneer is a sports reporter of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @jbuckamneer.