Numbers up for Ranger wrestling teamPublished 9:25pm Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Two years ago when Josh Rinehart took over the Cassopolis wrestling program the Rangers were struggling.
Rinehart had spent the past 18 months working to fill the line-up and keep the team heading in the right direction.
“The biggest difference this year is our numbers are up,” Rinehart said after Saturday’s Steve Linton Memorial (see related story this page). “When I took the job with my younger brother, one of the things we wanted to do was get the numbers up. This year we actually started the season with 27 kids in the room. But by the time we got to the actual alpha day (weighing in) we were down to 22, which I think was four or five more than we had last year.”
Rinehart added that numbers are up at the middle school as well.
“So where we were a year ago until now, the No. 1 thing our numbers are up, which in the long run will be helpful. We are young. I think we start nine freshmen or sophomores. We also have several first-year wrestlers. I look at that as a bonus too. Kids who didn’t wrestle last year or in the past are now coming out for the team.”
There is a buzz growing in the school as well. Rinehart is aware of kids who are walking the halls who are talking about coming out for wrestling next season.
“It feels like everything is moving in a positive direction,” he said. “With Matt Brawley as the AD now, he has been great. The new principal (Bob Sieko) has been real supportive. I don’t know wins are coming yet like we want, but we are competitive. I think the biggest thing is I feel we are headed in a positive direction.”
Rinehart said he was spoiled last year as he had a pair of seniors that turned in outstanding seasons — Dominic Forbes and Tyler Butrick. Butrick is helping with this year’s team.
“Even beyond those two, I had three or four seniors that did a nice job,” Rinehart said. “What I have this year, I have a good group of seniors, but I am trying to develop our leaders. I think I have kids who have not always been in that position, so we are developing that.
“One of my seniors, Jaylin Lawson, who has having an outstanding year, injured his knee and I don’t know if I’m getting him back. It’s a good group. It’s a group that one week I feel like we’ve turned that corner and then the next week, there are some hightlights, but we were just flat. I think the major reason for that is we are inexperienced.”
The Rangers were back in action Wednesday night when they took on Lakeland Conference powerhouse Brandywine. Complete results from that match can be found at www.leaderpub.com.