Perry wrestling sees a record amount of participants

Libbie Randall - Sports
Kaleb Olejniczak and Justin Stammer at a recent practice. PHOTO BY LIBBIE RANDALL/THE PERRY CHIEF

If you get the opportunity to pass by the shed located beyond the newly renovated Dewey Football field, it will almost always seem quiet and deserted. However, on most days, within the shed that houses the mid-game locker rooms are 40-50 young Bluejays all bustling with excitement as they practice and get better for the 2018/2019 wrestling season.

Head Coach Mark Weber says his initial thoughts and feelings from the first day of practice are very positive.

“It’s exciting to see the numbers we have at the high school level,” Coach Weber said. “The numbers are upper 40s almost 50 which is a lot more than we had last year. When you talk to most coaches they’ll tell you that numbers are important.”

With a great amount those participants being younger, Coach Weber also stated the importance of leaders on the team. One of those leaders includes Senior Kaleb Olejniczak.

“It’s a little bittersweet going into my final year wrestling in high school,” Olejniczak said. “It seems like just yesterday we were freshmen or wrestling Junior Jay, but it’s also exciting. (This year) is a chance to really excel.”

Excelling seems to be the theme of this season as Coach Weber also emphasized the importance constantly gaining more skill.

“I like to increase the goals every year because that shows that your team and your program is growing. A winning record for duels would be very good, we went 12-12 last year so we were right at 500,” Coach Weber said. “If we could qualify for a regional duals that would be great and that means we would have to perform well at sectionals, but I think it’s doable.”

Another major aspect that the Bluejay Wrestling Team plans to implement this year is experience.

“You have a lot of Juniors and seniors who are experienced as far as the varsity goes,” Coach Weber said. “It’ll be a matter of a handful of guys stepping up and showing that they are better than the last couple years have shown and I know they are.”

Senior Justin Stammer seemed to be well aware of these expectations as he talked excitedly about his plans for the season.

“There’s a lot of stepping up that we, as seniors, have to do,” Stammer said. “We’re hoping to have a full team this year and get a lot of stuff done.”