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2020-21 Winter Preview: Buffalo Wrestling

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2020-21 Winter Preview: Buffalo Wrestling

By Pat Dailey (For OzarkSportsZone.com)

The big news out of Buffalo is Nick Whetzell taking over the Bison’s program as their head coach. The Pittsburg, Kansas, native is following through on his dream to lead his own program.

Whetzell wrestled for eight years and in high school was a two-time state qualifier. This is his first coaching position.

“Coaching is something I have always had a great interest in,” Whetzell said. “When the Buffalo job came open, I saw it as an opportunity to pursue coaching as I have always wanted to do. I believe coaching is a great opportunity and way to give back, while also helping mold kids as people, students and athletes.

“My philosophy going into this year is striving to reach everyone’s top potential, create a team that will compete at a high level and continue to build on the tradition (former Buffalo head coach Nate Kenady) and others have started before us,” he added. “We will look to be in great shape and provide techniques that are suited to each wrestler’s skill level and execute those techniques at a high level. We will do this by focusing on what we can control, mainly being attitude, effort and focus.”

Whetzell wants to set a standard for his wrestlers as a hard worker.

“I think a strength I have always possessed is my work ethic,” he said. “That is something I hope I can pass on and be an example for our team. I hope I can be a source of information for all levels of wrestlers and be someone they can relate with and rely on and off the mat.”

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Whetzell was hired on at Buffalo only a few weeks before the start of practices, but is optimistic he and the Bison can get acclimated in a short period of time.

“I have minimal time to learn a lot of information about the job and also try to learn some things about the program and the kids,” he said. “It has and will continue to be a learning experience, but I believe I am up for the challenge.”

Kenady remains on staff as an assistant and is helping Whetzell get familiarized with the wrestlers. Whetzell plans to rely heavily on Kenady, especially early on.

“Coach Kenady staying on has been a blessing,” Whetzell said. “He is my go-to (source), especially for some of the behind-the-scenes things that head coaches have to perform. Fortunately, he has allowed me to rely on him and has been willing to be an open book for any questions that come about. I think his biggest role will also be being a middle ground to help break the ice between myself and the kids, so we can smoothly transition into me being the head coach and get to know one another.”

Whetzell came away from his intro to his wrestlers with good vibes.

“First impression is that they look like a very attentive group that is eager to learn even more to become better people, students and wrestlers,” he said.

One thing that hasn’t changed is Buffalo’s expectations to once again have wrestlers who will make it to State.

On the girls side, Jada Watson (166) was 32-6 and a district runner-up while advancing to State last season.

“Jada is (our) only returning state qualifier and was one match away from being a state medalist as a sophomore,” Whetzell said. “Also, we look for Skyler Maverick, Honnalee Hunt, Katie Waters and Emily Waters to make great strides. As for the boys, three returners expected to make the next steps are John Jenkins, Conner Pinkley and Brock Maverick.”

“I would think as a competitor that all returning wrestlers are probably looking to take the next step forward whether that be qualifying for state or medaling at state,” Whetzell said. “Some returners are probably looking to take a role as a varsity wrestler this year and continuing to improve.”

Newcomers who could make an immediate impact are Caleb Spencer and Brady Smith.