The Maize High School wrestling team will open its season in tournament play Saturday, Dec. 1, and coach Mike Schauer said the Eagle squad must grow up in a hurry.
Maize’s top finisher last year at state, Trever Cox, has graduated. He placed third at 152 pounds in last season’s Class 6A state tournament. Carson Nguyen, another state qualifier, also has graduated.
Schauer listed top wrestlers for 2012-13 as Jacob Wilgers, Kyle Baldwin and Fernando Nuno, all juniors. Wilgers, a returning state qualifier, is the No. 6 wrestler in the 126-pound class, according to the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association’s rankings for 6A.
Other Maize wrestlers who are ranked include freshman Landon Wood, No. 1 at 106 pounds, and freshman Brett Moon, No. 1 at 120 pounds. Schauer listed additional freshmen – Cole Moses, Alex Hydock and Shane Brock – as key athletes for Maize this winter.
Schauer coached the Eagles from 1989 to 1998 and began his second stint in 2010. Maize will open its season in a tournament at Arkansas City. The host is the defending Class 5A state champion. Maize placed fourth last year at Arkansas City.
Schauer especially looks forward to tournaments at Arkansas City, Tulsa Union, Emporia, Newton, Maize and Garden City because they are tough competitions, he said.
“We hope to get better and stay healthy,” Schauer added.
Maize’s home debut will be Thursday, Dec. 13, in a dual with Salina Central. The Eagles will host their tournament Saturday, Jan. 5. They placed eighth in their home tourney last season.
Maize is assigned to the 6A regional Feb. 16 at Hutchinson. Other teams present will be Derby, Dodge City, Garden City, Campus, Wichita Northwest, Wichita South and the host. That regional includes five of the top 10 teams at state last year.
Maize is the No. 9 team in 6A, according to the coaches association’s preseason rankings. Like last season, the state tournament will be at Hartman Arena.