Highland wrestling coach Terry Ohren expects his 2018-19 edition of Bulldogs to be pretty solid through most of the 14 weight classes this winter.
“I think we’ll be pretty solid from about 106 to about the 189 weight class,” Ohren said. “We should be pretty competitive in those classes.”
Top returners for Ohren include senior Colton Brown at 132 pounds, Tanner Burke at 126 pounds, and senior Devin Wills at 152 and 160 pounds.
Brown and Burke will be set those weights for the most part while Wills will wrestle and 152 and 160 pounds and perhaps in another division.
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“It’s wherever the hydration takes him and I’ll let him go (wrestle),” Ohren said. “Usually, I let the boys pick where they want to wrestle since those guys have got to lose the weight and not me.”
Ohren, who begins his ninth season as the Bulldogs coach feels that his club will be strongest from the lower weight classes up into the middle weight divisions.
“I think probably from the smallest to the middle of my lineup is where we’ll be the strong,” Ohren said. “My most experienced wrestlers with Colton and Tanner and Devin if her gets down to 145, that would be pretty tough (for us) in the middle of that lineup.”
“Those are the guys I’m really keen on and hoping they will take the leadership and run this team for me,” Ohren said.
At 182 pounds, junior Alex Reed is expected to be a contributor. “Alex wrestled all summer long as a junior and he’ll be one I’m hoping does real decent,” Ohren said.
The rest of the upper weights will be manned by first time freshmen and sophomores.
“The other guys are first-year wrestlers that are freshman and sophomore and we’ve got to teach them,” Ohren said. “Hopefully, we can teach fast enough where they can learn.”
Sophomores Garrett Metz and Tanner Schranz have a chance to surprise at 106 and 113 pounds. Both had their freshman seasons cut short by injuries, but Ohren is pleased with their preseason development.
“They did pretty good last year but they both got hurt on me, so they sat out toward the end of the year,” Ohren said, “They are looking good right now.”
As has been the case for the past eight seasons, Ohren is hopeful the Bulldogs can contend for the Mississippi Valley Conference title.
There is a bigger goal the Bulldogs have this winter that is driving them. After eight straight years of having a state qualifier, the Bulldogs came up short last February.
Ohren hopes to get a news state qualifier streak started with this group. “I do want to get another guy back to state,” Ohren said. “Last year was my first year not getting a kid to state and that kind of bummed me out. Nobody made it last year after seven prior years of going, so I do want to get that going again.”
Highland begins the season on Tuesday (Nov. 20) at the Pinckneyville Quad.