By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion wrestling team is returning three sectional qualifiers and the third best girls wrestler in the state and Head coach Dave Klemm said it felt good to have two weeks of practice and be back at work.
“Well, good to be back in play, back in action. We have a young team that is very eager and it’s a good young team and we’re very eager to get back on the mat,” Coach Klemm said. We have 13 sophomores than 10 freshmen, three juniors and four seniors. So we’re a young team and they’re really eager and chomping at the bit and this is our second week of practice and they’ve been working really hard, responding, so I am excited about it.“
The focus of improvement in the off-season and in the first couple weeks of practice was focusing more on moves rather than just trying to get in shape and work on live actual or try to break down moves and transition from one move to another and try to develop those moves.
Coach Klemm is returning his third in state girls wrestler Sydney Cannon along with his four seniors Remington Hiser, Jordan Weter, Vincent Fiore and Mason Gray, where three of the four were sectional qualifiers.
“We have four seniors. Obviously they’re gonna be leaders for us. Three of the four were actually sectional qualifiers for us last year, so we’re looking big on that. Sydney will be a big deal both on our, our on the boys side,” Coach Klemm said. She’ll wrestle some of the matches on the boys’ side and on the girls’ side, obviously taking third and state last year. We’re hoping for big things outta her as well. Some of the surprises, some of the younger ones, I mean, we actually have a junior high state champion in our, as in our roster. He is freshman this year, Kalbin Becker. So, eventually we’re looking for good things outta him. We’ve got several freshmen I think who could step up and do well for him, but he certainly leads the pack.”
Cannon said that her leadership in the off-season and in practice was getting wrestlers to open mats and helping her younger teammates figure out what the sport is all about. Cannon’s team goal is for the team to bond and become closer together and her individual goal is to win the girls state championship this year.
Fiore has prepared for this role of leadership since last year as a junior.
“I’ve kind of prepared for it since last season and even towards the end of last season, I was kind of ready to take the leadership role and I’ve handled it pretty well,”
Fiore said. “I like most of the young guys, so it’s pretty easy to just push everyone, but also being respectful, not being mean to anyone, but I Like the leadership role that I have.”
Fiore’s team goal is to win the Apollo conference title and individually wants to place at state. Fiore would like to be remembered mostly as a good teammate, a good leader.
“I think both of those aspects come before being a good wrestler,” Fiore said. “Just being a good person.”
To Hiser, his leadership is not being loud, but teaching the underclassmen how to carry on the spirit of the sport and get better as a team. Hiser’s team goal is he would like for his team to take as many kids as possible to the state championships and a personal goal, he would like to place at the state championships. Hiser wants to be remembered as a leader and someone to follow, someone who was coachable and an easy listener.
Gray took on his leadership role as scouting out other teammates and pushing them to their full potential. Grays want to try to make it to state this year and his team goal is to get everyone to reach their individual goal. Gray wants to be remembered by his teammates and coaching staff as someone as the kid who was more lighthearted and fun.
Weter’s leadership has been to help the newcomers become comfortable with things. Weter’s team goal is for his team to make it far in the postseason and individually just wants to continue to get better from last year. Weter wants his lasting mark to be as someone who came in, had a good time and worked hard whenever needed.
Coach Klemm knows that his senior leaders will lead in the ways he expects: as a leader by example and leader by word of mouth.
“Leadership comes in two ways. One, you can have those verbal leaders who really want to get down on people, or you can have those leaders that lead by example and that’s the kind of seniors we have right now,” Coach Klemm said. “These guys are working really hard and they’re, they’re leading by example, they’re just constantly going all the time. And then when need be, they step up, step up and verbally, tell the people what needs to be done. So that’s what’s happening.”
Coach Klemm’s season expectations are to be all over the place to start the season with weight certification and get his wrestlers down to the right weight classes will take time but hopes to take multiple wrestlers in deep postseason runs.
Coach Klemm’s overall message to the readers and community is to come to some of the home meets and watch what his wrestlers have worked on, on the mat.
Well, we’re looking for some, some exciting action,” Coach Klemm said. As I said, these are some young people that wrestled a lot in the off season. We did some off-season stuff for camps and things and got some explosive wrestlers and, we’re looking to, we’re looking to make some live action happen.”