By: Alexis Stallard, Online Editor
Newman wrestling is headed into post-season competition with only six wrestlers, despite beginning the season with 15 wrestlers on the roster.
Head Coach Ryan Smith said that injuries and the residual effects of COVID are to blame for the small roster.
“We’ve had two season-ending injuries, maybe three,” Smith said. “We’ve had a number of different issues to where things just haven’t gone our way.”
The team ended its regular-season competition with a 4-5 record, losing its last two meets while on the road in Nebraska and Oklahoma. With only six competing, the team was forced to forfeit matches in some weight classes, costing it points.
Smith said that the team is having to work harder than ever to prepare for next season, needing to build back numbers along with compensating for the losses of graduating team members. Smith said he already has signed six new wrestlers for next year.
“We’re in rebuild mode,” he said.
Despite the roster issues, Smith said, he is confident that the team will perform well in post-season competition. With the wrestlers competing on an individual basis, team points are not a factor in who wins or loses.
The team members are in good spirits, too, as they finish out their season, team captain Kameron Frame said in an email.
“We are all excited to show off all the hard work we have been putting in,” Frame said. “We have a slight break in competition before regionals, so I believe all of the guys will be healthy and ready to scrap at regionals.”
Frame, who was honored as the Male College Athlete of the Year by the Greater Wichita Athletic Commission last year, remains proud of his team for all of its accomplishments despite a year that was less than ideal. In its duel against Hays, the team was forced to forfeit four matches due to a lack of wrestlers but won all the other matches that day. Despite losing the duel because of those forfeits, Newman still out-performed Hays.
As one of the two team captains, Frame had to readjust his outlook and attitude towards this season to better lead the team through its trying times. Frame said that the challenges of this season caused him to reflect and appreciate his time as an athlete.
“The challenges so far this season have just been a constant reminder to always stay positive and learn,” Frame said.
The Newman Jets retake the mat on Feb. 26 in St. Charles, Missouri.
Photo: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics