2017 Royal Valley Wrestling Preview
By Michael Powls
The Royal Valley Panthers’ varsity wrestling team has a new head coach this season as Douglas Spencer is in his sixth year coaching the Panther wrestling team, but it’s his first year as the head coach.
Coach Spencer takes over the coaching helm from Jason Puderbaugh.
The Panthers’ assistant coaches this season are Jason Ogden and Tanner Ogden.
The Panthers last year had a 9-26 overall team record and a 1-3 team record in the Big 7 League placing fifth in league and seventh place at regionals.
The Panthers have several returning wrestlers from last season and they are:
*Senior Dalton Ware, 120-pounds. Ware was a 2016 state placer and a 2017 state qualifier. He went 18-11 last year.
*Junior Brett House, 132-pounds. House ous was a 2017 state qualifier. He went 20-11 last year.
*Junior Karsen Smith, 152-pounds. Smith went 22-20 last year.
*Junior Bryce Garrison, 160-pounds. Garrison went 14-13 last year.
*Sophomore Caleb McEntire, 126-pounds. McEntire went 12-20 last year.
*Sophomore Zach Burger, 182-pounds. Burger went 13-20 last year.
*Sophomore Greg Koon, 220-pounds. Koon went 7-0 at 195-pounds last year.
*Senior Brian Shane, 220-pounds. Shane had a winning record as a sophomore.
The Panthers also have some freshmen wrestlers coming in this year and they are:
*Maya Ogden, 126-pounds. Ogden went 10-12 last year.
*Skylar Mechtley, 138-pounds. Mechtley went 6-14 last year.
*Alek Mitchell, 195-pounds. Mitchell went 3-6 last year.
*Alberto Tinajero, 285-pounds – Tinajero went 3-3 last year.
When asked to predict the strength of other Big Seven wrestling programs this season, coach Spencer predicted the following - 1. Holton 2. Sabetha 3. Perry-Lecompton 4. Royal Valley 5. Riverside 6. Jeff West and 7. ACCHS.
Spencer predicted top state power houses in wrestling this season to be 6A – Garden City. 5A – Blue Valley Southwest. 4A – Ark City and 3-2-1A – Norton.
The top area wrestlers this year, according to Spencer will be the following -
*Dalton Ware – Royal Valley.
*Brett House – Royal Valley.
*Kyler Tannahill – Holton.
*Kolby Roush – Holton.
*Jordan Priddy – Silver Lake.
*Gable Howerton – Silver Lake.
*Matthew Cruickshank – St. Mary’s.
*Coy Rokey – Sabetha.
*Elliot Strahm – Sabetha.
*Isaiah Luellen – Rossville.
*Scott Resler – Riverside.
*Riley Tubbs – Wabaunsee.
*Gunner Murray – Washburn Rural.
*Jake Patterson – Shawnee Heights.
*Chase Reynolds – Shawnee Heights.
*Freddy Maisberger – Shawnee Heights.
“Our team is very young, but that said we return several wrestlers to our line-up that have wrestled a lot of varsity matches for us,’’ coach Spencer said. “We made huge strides last season in recruiting young fresh faces in the middle school and we will continue to push that as growing our numbers is going to be key in the near future. With a new coaching staff we look to spend more time developing the younger inexperienced kids, while pushing our veterans to reach new heights.’’
Growth and maturity will be keys to success for the Panthers this season, Spencer said.
“We showed our inexperience last season with a lot of freshmen wrestling in the varsity line-up,’’ he said. “We must continue to develop our younger wrestlers and get them more matches that they can compete in and have fun.
Coach Spencer said the strength of the Panther will be its competitiveness.
“Our kids have a desire not to lose, not to let their teammates down and with our youth that is huge and can win you some duals,’’ Spencer said. “We have lost a lot of good wrestlers that just don’t come back out the next year so we have to figure out how to keep those kids coming back year after year.’’
Spencer said he looks for senior Dalton Ware to have a good season.
“Dalton looks to bounce back from an injury-plagued season, two broken ribs and a hyperextended elbow cost him a lot of mat time and several matches,’’ Spencer said. “After placing as a sophomore, Ware is looking to get himself back to being on of the top wrestlers in his weight class and add himself to the list of two time-placers in Royal Valley history.’’
Spencer said he looks forward to working with his assistant coaches.
“I would like to welcome Jason and Tanner Ogden to the Royal Valley wrestling coaching staff,’’ Spencer said. “Jason and Tanner are both two-time state placers and two of the most decorated wrestlers in Royal Valley history. Jason brings in years of coaching experience and knowledge back to his alma mater while Tanner, who has finished his college wrestling career, is eager and hungry to develop the youth in our community. Both are great additions to the Royal Valley program and I am happy to have them on board.’’
The RVHS wrestlers start their season on Friday at Burlington with matches starting at 3 p.m.