The Festus Tigers Boys Varsity Wrestlers battled De Soto and Hillsboro on the mats on Tuesday, January 12, going 1-1. The Hawks managed to knock off De Soto by three points, but then ran into the Hillsboro buzz saw.
However, the wins and losses don’t always tell the full story. Head Coach Jason Nahlik said, “We are seeing a lot of growth, but when you compare our wins and losses to other teams’ wrestlers that have many more years of experience, it’s hard to see that growth on paper.”
First, Festus narrowly edged out De Soto 39-36. Of the nine contested weight classes, the Tigers won four. Andrew Nahlik, Blake Sexton and Luke Shaver each won by pin. Robert Buehre won by decision 19-12. Tyson Beffa also won an exhibition bout by decision 5-4.
Coach Nahlik commented on some of his wrestlers that have made a big move this season, and said, “Sexton has really stepped up in recent weeks. He is a first year wrestler and has been stringing some wins together for us.” He went on, “Buehre has previous little league wrestling experience. He still makes mistakes that typical freshmen make, but is working on correcting them.”
Festus then lost to Hillsboro 70-3. Shaver earned the only win for his team by decision 5-1. Shaver commented, “We just need to hit it harder in practice and get our minds right. We have a little bit more ground to cover technique-wise before districts, so I think we’ll be good.”
Coach Nahlik knows his team is young but the potential is there. He said, “We have seven freshmen in our starting Varsity lineup, and of those seven only two have any previous experience. With that in mind, the team is getting better and better every week.” He went on and mentioned, “We are seeing guys finishing shots and scoring that a few weeks ago were not.”
A. Nahlik also sees the potential in the youth of his team, and said, “As a team we are doing pretty well at getting these first year freshman up to speed. We had some first year guys win some important matches vs. DeSoto to beat them for the first time. We are looking to improve on not getting pinned. Sometimes we struggle making it all six minutes.”
Festus has proven that they can win. Coach Nahlik believes that hard work in the training room is what it will take, and said, “As a team we have to keep busting our humps at practice and using every second of practice to improve our skills.”
Festus will take to the mats again on Thursday, January 14, against Webster Groves and St. John Vianney.