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Maryville wrestling returns to mat despite concerns about season occurrence | Sports


Maryville wrestling returns to mat despite concerns about season occurrence | Sports

This year’s offseason for the Maryville boys wrestling team has been challenging to navigate, as its first practice Nov. 2 was the team’s first official meeting since the season ended last winter. 

While COVID-19 has been looming in the air, coach Dallas Barrett has spent most of his offseason concerned that it would keep them from having a season this year. 

“I had a lot of mixed emotions,” Barrett said. “It’s difficult when you have so much unknown. You don’t know what’s going to happen, and everything is out of your control.”

Senior Kieren Watkins spent a lot of his offseason waiting to hear from MSHSAA about whether or not  he was going to be able to compete in his final season. 

“I was pretty concerned,” Watkins said. “But in the offseason, I did my best to be prepared for if we do have a season, and MSHSAA said we are going to have a season now, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The wrestling team spent much of the offseason in new territory as it was forced into more individual workouts instead of coming together and being able to work out as a team. 

“We really didn’t have much offseason training,” Barrett said. “Most of it was just individuals. There were a few that asked for some drills and tips and stuff that they could do, and a lot of others just did a lot of weight room stuff.” 

With the Spoofhounds officially having a winter season, they began practices Nov. 2, seeing a lot of new faces. 

“This year we got a lot of new kids, a lot of fresh faces, which is always great,” Watkins said. “So, hopefully as a team, we will be able to fill a roster and be able to compete in some duels and win some tournaments even.” 

With COVID-19 being a looming factor in how long they are able to keep this season going, the team is fully aware of the new changes that will be in effect as the season goes on. 

“We are still reading into that,” Barrett said. “But they’re doing a lot of minimizing contact and stuff like that.” 

Some of those changes they will see throughout the season are the removal of pregame and postgame handshakes, limited referee contact and, depending on the school they are competing at, they will see a restriction on the number of people allowed to attend. 

Even with COVID-19 being a big factor for the Spoofhounds, Barrett is more focused on keeping the team healthy and on track to completing its goals.

“We want to be healthy; we want to be safe,” Barrett said. “We got several seniors this year. They all have not only goals to make it to state but to also metal there.”

Watkins has been to state before and is ready to go back, but he is ready for the challenge that comes with being the captain of the team, 

“Personally, I am a two-time state qualifier. I didn’t get to wrestle my freshman year, so this year my goal is to go place at state. That’s my No. 1,” Watkins said. “I also just want to do my best, and being the captain, I hope to get the best out of my team and make sure we all perform to our best potential.”