WRESTLING PREVIEW: Kennett wrestling squad hopes to benefit from depth

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Kennett’s Lorenzo Thomas (right) wrestles at Kennett Tuesday.

Numbers are on the rise for the Kennett High School wresting program entering the 2019 season.

“We are definitely growing as a program,” Kennett wrestling coach Mike Henley said. “We have 22 wrestlers on our high school roster with 19 being freshmen, sophomores, or first-year wrestlers. We’ve definitely got quite a few newcomers but I think we will have a good season.”

Kennett has three wrestlers on its squad that advanced deep into postseason last season.

Sophomores Alex Diaz and Hayden Higgins both qualified for state last season.

“They are looking tough this year,” Henley said. “They should both have good seasons.”

Lorenzo Thomas, who is the only senior on the squad, finished one victory shy of advancing to state last season.

“He brings a lot of experience,” Henley said of Thomas. “He was one win away from going to state last year. His leadership should really help the team.”

Henley said projected starters in each weight class are freshman Gavin Patterson (106), sophomore Alex Diaz (113), freshman Ethan Davis (120), sophomore Hayden Higgins (TBA), junior Chase Malone (132), freshman Elliot Nelson (138), freshman Tyler Preston (145), freshman James Ebert (152), freshman Otrevian Walls (160), junior Francisco Garcia (170), senior Lorenzo Thomas (182), sophomore Preston Ragland (195), junior Gage Gattis (220), and sophomore Cirilo Tejeda (285).

Henley hopes his squad’s ability to start a wrestler in most weight classes translates to more team victories.

“Right now we’ve only got the 126 weight class open,” Henley said. “Having a wrestler at most weight classes should help us a great deal because in the past we’ve always had four or five openings. I think this is the fullest roster we’ve had.”

One challenge Kennett must encounter is moving from Class 1 to Class 2 in the postseason.

Kennett is slated to compete in Class 2, District 1 with Affton, Park Hills Central, Dexter, John Burroughs, Miller Career Academy, Normandy Collaborative, Notre Dame Cape Girardeau, Potosi, Roosevelt, Soldan International Studies, St. Clair, St. James, Ste. Genevieve, Sullivan, and University City in 2020.

“Class 2 will definitely be a step up,” Henley said. “We are losing Whitfield, which was a very powerful Class 1 school. But we are going to have programs like Dexter, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Clair, who have had established programs for years to go against now. I think the district will definitely be a little bit tougher this season for us.”

Kennett opened its season with a home triad against Notre Dame and New Madrid County Central Tuesday. Kennett beat Notre Dame 56-21. New Madrid County Central beat Kennett 51-30 and beat Notre Dame 48-22.

“I thought we competed hard,” Henley said. “New Madrid and Notre Dame have really grown their programs in recent years.”

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Kennett’s Luis Olguin (top) competes in a wrestling match at Kennett Tuesday.

2019-20 Kennett Wrestling Schedule

12/12Jackson Tri5 p.m.
12/14Marion Tourn.TBA
12/17Kennett Tri.TBA
12/20-21Tiger ClassicTBA
1/11Park Hills Inv.TBA
1/14Poplar Bluff Quad5 p.m.
1/16at Dexter6 p.m.
1/24-25SEMO Conf. Tourn.TBA
1/28at NMCC6 p.m.
2/5at Sikeston7 p.m.
2/11Cape Quad5 p.m.
Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Kennett’s Elliot Nelson (right) competes in a wrestling match at Kennett Tuesday.
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