The upcoming wrestling season marks a milestone for the Holden boys wrestling program as the program enters its 20th season this year.
The Eagles begin competition in the landmark season with a quadrangular meet at California High School Tuesday, Nov. 28.
Seven returning wrestlers are on this year’s boys wrestling roster with 18 total team members set to enter the grind of the season.
“This year, we will be building a foundation for future seasons,” says second-year boys wrestling head coach Matt Hertzog. “We have some talented returners in the room, but we have a lot of new kids. It will be important to focus on improvement and developing consistent work habits with the young guys while reinforcing good habits, and challenging our returners to push themselves to another level.”
Coach Hertzog emphasizes that nine of those new wrestlers are freshmen.
Those freshmen will receive guidance from three returning seniors and four returning juniors.
Headlining the senior class of wrestlers will be returners Daylen Greene, CJ Reifsteck, and Andrew Johnston.
“Our seniors this year are great kids, hard workers, and push those around them, which is what it’s all about,” says coach Hertzog. “I know that Daylen, CJ, and Andrew will all lead this team with integrity and purpose.”
Greene pushed himself to a runner-up finish at the state meet last season after earning all-state third-place medals in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Reifsteck earned a state meet qualification last season, and used the opportunity to gain experience on the mats at Mizzou Arena.
“Last year, we qualified three boys for the state tournament, and had a runner-up in Daylen Greene,” highlights coach Hertzog. “CJ Reifsteck was one match out from medaling at the state tournament and we finished our dual schedule with a final team record of 10-3, so we’re hoping to build on that momentum.”
Incoming senior year wrestlers include foreign exchange students Adne Ganst-Eriksen and Gerard Costa.
Juniors on this year’s team include Connor Carver, Aiden Christian, Trent Stout, and Graysen Thieman who are all returners.
With no sophomores on the team, the incoming freshmen team members include Bobby Bowlin, Kaleb Catron, Jayden Elliott, Hudson Gregg, Carson Kephart, Jacob Powell, Charlie Rowland, Payton Tye, and Vince Vance.
“Last year, we lost Kody Conard and Joseph Powell,” adds coach Hertzog of the graduated wrestlers. “Both scored points consistently, so we will be looking to make up that difference with a few of our young guys.”
The proven experience of many of the returning wrestlers has been displayed on multiple levels.
Greene is a first-team all-conference wrestler, a previous district champion, and a three-time all-state medalist. He also has received recognition as an academic all-conference and all-state wrestler.
Thieman is a second team all-conference wrestler, and a previous state meet qualifier.
Carver, Stout, Reifsteck, and Johnston are all second team all-conference wrestlers, as listed by coach Hertzog. Christian also brings with him a previous state meet qualification.
“The team’s assistant coaches this year will be Tyler Jolly in his third year as an assistant, and student teacher and first-year assistant Skyler Smith, who will be assisting while he finishes up his degree,” says coach Hertzog. “We are very blessed to have both of these guys. They do a fantastic job and work very well with the boys.”
As noted, this year marks the 20th season for the Holden Eagles wrestling program.
Coach Hertzog is hoping to use the successes which built the foundation of the program to fuel this year’s wrestlers when they enter competition as the rich past of the program feeds into its future.
“This is the 20th anniversary of Holden’s wrestling program which is a huge deal, and I feel blessed to be part of it,” says coach Hertzog. “There have been a lot of good wrestlers come through, and a whole lot more to follow.
“Every season presents its own share of challenges and opportunities, and I am looking forward to watching our boys rise to the occasion and take advantage whenever possible. As coaches, we want to make sure that we put them in the best possible position to succeed both in the classroom and on the mat. They put in a lot of work not only during the season but during our summer camps and open mat opportunities, so when it pays off, it’s a special moment all around. I can’t forget to show the girls team some love. They had such a great season last year, and they’re accomplishing amazing things right now. I consider them an integral part of our wrestling program, and I feel a tremendous amount of pride when they find success as well. I wish them the best in their upcoming season.”
The season opening competition for the Holden boys wrestling team at California High School on Tuesday, Nov. 28 is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. with Holden, California, South Callaway, and Tipton taking part in the quadrangular meet.
The first home meet for the Holden boys wrestling team is set for Wednesday, Nov. 29 with a dual meet against Warrensburg scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m