WYOMING – It’s been 10 years since Wyoming High School won a league wrestling championship and coach Brian Pitman would like to add another to his resume.
It just may not come this year.
Since the Cowboys last won in 2004 and Madeira in 2005, Reading has reeled off nine in a row. The last two years, much of the Cincinnati Hills League has chased the Blue Devils and Deer Park as the grapplers along Galbraith Road have hunkered down.
Wyoming’s closest call was two years ago when they finished second to Reading. For a “smaller school” league, the CHL holds its own.
“It is an impressive league and we have some quality kids,” Pitman said. “I got to spend some time with the Deer Park kids during summer when we combined and went to the Jeff Jordan State Champ Camp (in Urbana). I got to know those kids and (Deer Park coach) Jason Lambers. Hopefully we can get some of these CHL kids to the state tournament and place.”
This year’s Cowboys, like last, are young again. Asa Palmer is the lone senior at 145 pounds.
Last year, Ike Palmer was the only senior and took the league championship at 195 pounds. Fifty pounds lighter, the younger Palmer appears to be on the same path.
“Asa Palmer has been unbelievable,” Pitman said. “He’s on fire. He’s beaten some really solid kids. Last year he got injured before the league meet. He’s healthy and looks really good.”
Pitman believes Palmer is dangerous. Because he was hurt at the end of last season, he’s not been seeded as high. He recently wrestled an undefeated competitor from Madison and won as the opposing coach looked on in shock.
Junior Justin Shields has also impressed at 182 pounds. His 5-foot-8, low-to-the-ground frame helped him in football where he was Wyoming’s top rusher. On the mat, he’s on pace for a 30-win season.
“He really doesn’t understand how good he could be,’ Pitman said. “He’s got great hips this year. Last year we worked on his reaction in his hips.”
In the heavier weights, the Cowboys have struggled some due to injury. Sophomore Ben Padnos, who wrestled at 220 last year, took over at 285 when fellow sophomore Dylan Revis was injured.
“Ben hasn’t had a lot of practice time with bigger guys other than myself,” Pitman said. “Once Dylan gets healthy, that will be a nice little battle back and forth.”
The third-grade Wyoming teacher still tangles with many of the kids he taught in elementary school. His wrestling is fine but his conditioning is not on par with his teenage combatants.
“I will not get beat by one of them,” Pitman said. “I won’t let them get too many moves on me. I let them try to think they’re going to get out.”
Pitman also gets to see first-hand his sophomore son, Noah, at 138 pounds, and football coach Aaron Hancock’s freshman son, Jacob, at 132.
After appearing in the Madeira Invitational for the first time in 20 years, the Cowboys next big event is the Wyoming Duals Jan. 17.