Douglas High wrestling will lean on returnees to guide newcomes this season
Douglas High wrestling turns to a new season in which it will be vying for another shot at a zone title in 2019-20 after sharing the title with Carson last season.
The Tigers have a mix of returning upperclassmen and a chunk of freshman, who continue to learn the proper techniques to wrestle.
Head coach Jake Fair feels the successes of the upcoming season will ride on heavily on the senior leaders, not only for on-the-mat performances, but in guiding the youth on the team as well.
“I am relying heavily on our group of seniors that are returning to show these younger kids what to do,” said Fair.
Returning to the lineup
Douglas will be strong in the lower weights this winter with a number of key returners vying for a spot at the state tournament.
Senior Jaden Blanchard returns to the team for one final year after falling in the 126-pound third place regional match that would have sent him to state.
This year, Fair expects Blanchard to wrestle at 138 pounds.
Right below Blanchard will be junior Max Smith at 132 pounds, who qualified for the state tournament last season after taking second in the 4A Northern Region at 132 pounds.
Fair also expects returnees such as Vance Hickman and Connor Morris to make big impacts as well for the Tigers this season at the 120- and 113-pound weight classes, respectively.
“We had real high hopes for him last year as a freshman and he got injured,” said Fair of Morris returning to the roster this season.
For Fair, he feels his returning talent has the capability of making a state tournament run if they put the work in this season.
“My seniors, I believe, they have every opportunity to make it to the state tournament. It’s up to them and the work they put in,” Fair added.
Adeline Chapton also returns for Douglas where she will be wrestling at 132 pounds early on in the season.
Nearly everyone else on the Tigers’ roster this season will be in their first year of varsity wrestling action.
Fair doesn’t expect Douglas to have a heavyweight wrestler this season and the head coach also thinks the Tigers may not have a grappler at 225 either, depending on how the early portions of the season play out.
“We are concentrating on developing simple techniques that will gain us wins efficiently,” said Fair.
The Tiger head man said the youth in the room has forced the coaching staff to get back to basics, something that he feels will help even the most veteran wrestlers in the room.
Douglas’ head coach will also be accompanied by a new assistant this season in Zach Singer, who is a certified personal trainer that will be helping the athletes with nutrition over the course of the season.
Overall, Fair said the upcoming season excites him as he hopes to keep the 32 wrestlers out for the team to keep pushing their work ethic forward.