“We are incredibly young,” Ottawa coach Joe Tokarz said. “There could be as many as six freshmen in the lineup at one time. There will be another two first-year wrestlers. Where we are good, we have the ability to be good.”
The Cyclones will depend a lot on seniors Dalton Weidl, Caleb Parenti and Brandin Bell.
“Really going to count a lot on my seniors,” Tokarz said. “They have been adding a great deal to what we do. Having a state qualifier back in the room is nice.”
Weidl qualified for state last year.
“Dalton and Caleb ... we have to have them go out prove to the world they are they are the better wrestlers,” Tokarz said. “We can’t have silly mistakes and not wrestle the way we have to wrestle. Those two have to go out and lead by example.
“With Bell, he has to take his stuff up a level. Sam Carver does also.”
Tokarz said the lineup will adjust a little early in the season.
“It is going to be interesting. We are not going to have a heavyweight to close the door.”
Sophomores Tony Wurtz and Garrett Gross will need to step into bigger roles.
Tokarz does expect a few of the freshmen to make an impact in their first year at the varsity level.
“There is some freshmen here that have the ability to win more than they lose,” he said. “There is four or five of the young kids, who are experienced as any of the older kids are.”
The practices have been a bit different this season.
“We are not being very technical right now as far as practice goes,” Tokarz said.
“What we are spending a lot of time on is being in better shape. It is a different approach than the past. We have had fun in practice doing different things.”
The schedule will be a bit different with the addition of the two-day Eudora Tournament.
“It is a meat grinder,” Tokarz said of the Eudora tourney. “That will be fun to go to. We have a heavy dual schedule.”
Ottawa opens the season Saturday in the Wamego Invitational.