by Brian Hoffman
The Glenvar and Salem wrestlers will be back on the mats this week as the winter season begins. Both were scheduled to wrestle in a quad-match at Pulaski County on Wednesday and both are in tournaments this weekend.
Salem will be in the annual season-opening “River Rumble” tournament at Staunton River High School. Coach Lawrence Van Liew had 28 in the room before football was over with hopes to add more. Seniors include Thomas Miles, Taylan Herndon, Ty Porter, Elvin Ramos, Dakota McLaughlin, Caden Thomas, Haden Smith, Brandon Conklin and Cooper Purl.
“This team is a great mix of experience and first year wrestlers,” said Van Liew. “They compliment each other well in the room, pushing each other to new levels.”
Salem sent 11 athletes to the state tournament last year and Van Liew hopes to equal or better that.
“We have nine seniors this year and eight or nine will start,” he said. “We have five athletes who have qualified for states in the past and two sophomores who qualified as freshmen. We have a very tough start to the year but we will know where we stand in the state after the first week.”
After taking on Salem, Pulaski and Rural Retreat on Wednesday in the quad in Dublin the Glenvar wrestlers will be in the Parry McCluer tournament this weekend in Dublin. The Highlanders hope to continue the success they’ve had under coach Jason Cline with some experienced wrestlers returning.
“Our roster has an even mix of fresh faces and seasoned veterans,” said Cline. “We return 10 wrestlers from last season’s team, including five former State place-winners. With over 20 kids on the roster this year it’s one of the larger Glenvar teams we’ve had in a while.”
Jake Cline, a former state champion, is moving up to 157 this year. He’s added muscle after wrestling at 132 last year. Other returnees include Alan Vu at 106 or 113, Mason Hylton at 120, River Smith at 125, Trey Lawrence at 144 or 150, Ethan Flowers at 175 and Wesley Heltzel at 190.
“I like the experience, depth and leadership we have from our returning upperclassmen on this year’s team,” said Cline. “That group of kids has really put in a lot of effort in the off season and we hope to see those results on the mat this winter.
“This season we also have a solid group of freshmen coming out for the team. These kids are young, but very athletic, and several of them have been wrestling for years so they’re looking to make a splash. I’m excited to see them all grow and improve over the course of the season.”