COSHOCTON – Coshocton wrestling coach Tim Ward has worked with this year’s senior class since they were in seventh grade.
In junior high, together, seven of the nine seniors lost just one dual meet.
This is the year the seniors and coach Ward have been waiting for.
“It seems like we’ve always counted on this group,” Ward said.
“We’ve been building up the anticipation, and we’ve all been looking forward to it. With our first match coming up, we are really excited to see what we got,” senior Jeremy Bresciani said.
In their freshman year, they were one match away from going to the state team duals.
They lost to Tuslaw — the eventual state dual runner ups — by 11 points.
“I told them, “Go back and look at the stats. We lost by 11 points and (Tuslaw) beat everyone else by more than that until they got to the final,'” Ward said. “The kids were kind of like, ‘Wow we were close.’ “
They still think about it.
“There were just some minor things that we could have corrected and we probably could’ve made it,” senior Tanner Ward said.
What they learned in that dual is the same thing Tim Ward said will allow this group to take the next step this year.
“Once they get on the mat, they have to cut it loose. They can’t wait for the next move of the other guy. They have to just go right into the next and keep those guys on the defense and they will be alright,” Tim Ward said.
The seven seniors — Tanner Ward, Bresciani, Brennen Alverson, Kyle Bergeron, Tanner Howell, Jacoby Spang and Caleb Meek — are joined by two foreign exchange students, Usman Suerkulov and Petr Skalny.
With the exception of Howell — who wrestles heavyweight — the seniors make up a majority of the middleweights.
Tim Ward also brought up juniors Jonathan Eberwine, Tyler Sill, Chris Addy and Sam Fortune. While the upperclassmen will be counted on heavily, the youth makes up the lower weights.
The strength of the team is in the middleweights and the seniors, Tim Ward said, but he added there are still things they need to work on.
“We came in this year trying to get those guys to, instead of getting in a shot and sitting on your knee for a second or second and a half, as soon as that knee hits the mat to exploding into the finish,” he said. “We always tell them if you hit three moves, you will get one of them. Kids who know how to hit move after move tend to get the takedown.”
Coshocton’s season begins Thursday at the Barnesville invitational. And it will again be the nine seniors who carry this team forward.
“I think we have a really good team because we have a lot of seniors and we have been together for a good while. I think we can do pretty well,” Alverson said. “I think great things are going to come.”