You’ve heard the old sports cliché one day at a time.
West High senior Chris Walters has heard it.
Only Walters doesn’t just know the popular saying, the senior wrestler lives it.
A three-time state qualifier, Walters has fallen one match short of a state title each of the last two seasons.
Motivation? Maybe, but Walters isn’t interested in the past. Only the future, one day at a time.
“It’s in the past; it does motivate me a little bit but it already happened. There isn’t much that I can change,” Walters said of the past two state tournaments. “I’m just looking ahead and training for the next match. You look ahead to the next match, and you think about that up until that match and then you think about the next thing. One day at a time, one match at a time.”
Walters finished runner-up at 120 pounds as a sophomore while at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
In his first year at West High, Walters finished third at 126 pounds last season, falling to eventual state champion Fredy Stroker of Bettendorf 5-1 in the semifinals before winning his final two matches to finish third.
“Really, when you look at it, he has lost one match at the state tournament two years in a row,” West High coach Mark Reiland said. “That is something that drives him.”
Walters enters this season ranked third at 132 pounds.
In front of Walters at 132 pounds are top-ranked Stroker and No. 2 Jake Koethe of West Des Moines Valley.
“I think he’s got something left to prove,” Reiland said. “He hasn’t gotten on top of the stand yet, and that’s really what the goal is.”
Walters isn’t the only one with something to prove this season.
West High missed the state dual meet for the first time in 10 years last season but returns 15 letterwinners and a number of state qualifiers.
“Last year probably wasn’t the type of season that we are used to, but we had a lot of young guys, a lot of new faces in the lineup and we didn’t have the same type of success that we have had,” Reiland said. “It was kind of one of those years where we learn from it. We lost three starters from last year so we have a lot of returning guys right now with experience that hopefully they will step up.”
Walters is one of three returning state qualifiers along with senior Tristen Bowers (17-14), who is ranked sixth at 138 pounds, and junior John Milani (27-20).
Senior Micah Kelsay returns after going 45-9 last year and is ranked ninth at 220 while senior Aydan Wynos (5-3) is ranked eighth at 285.
Sophomore Donovan Doyle (25-24) is ranked seventh at 182 while Tyler Hebl (29-21), Jasmine Bailey (23-24), Jakeb Bakken (27-28), Jackson Voigt (27-26) and Mitch Yoerger (18-29) all return.
West also will have junior Tanner Rohweder, who has placed fifth at state each of the past two seasons while at West Des Moines Dowling, and freshmen Carter Rohweder and Alex Aguirre.
“I think we should do very well this year,” Walters said. “There is no reason that we can’t. We have the ability and the talent. We just need to do the work and show up.”