Crusaders finish Duals, get set for intense period of practice

Helias’ Matt Backes (left) and Ozark’s Tucker Jennins square off in a 145-pound match Saturday at
the Missouri Duals.

Helias’ Matt Backes (left) and Ozark’s Tucker Jennins square off in a 145-pound match Saturday at the Missouri Duals. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The busy early wrestling schedule has put the cart before the horse for the Helias Crusaders.

Helias’ deep run in the football playoffs meant nearly half of the wrestling team had just a handful of practices before the season began. But after Saturday’s conclusion of the Missouri Duals, the Crusaders get nearly a month off from competition.

“It’s time for Phase Two,” Helias first-year coach Jacob Wadley said Saturday afternoon after the Crusaders dropped a 66-18 decision to the Ozark Tigers in the seventh-place match at the Duals.

The break will be the first time since the start of the season the full team will be able to practice for more than two days in a row.

“With our early schedule, the kids know what the six-minute grind of a match is,” Wadley said. “Now they need to embrace the training, embrace that grind and start melding together more as a team and grow and support each other.

“We haven’t had enough time to train, not enough time on the mat. There was promotion before preparation.We have some kids who have had a mental struggle of getting beat on, but they’ve stayed positive. They know December is not the end of the world, there’s a lot of season left to look forward to and they want to stick with it.”

Helias, which finished 1-4 in duals, finished fourth in the Blue Division with 123 points.

“Coming into the weekend, we knew it was going to be tough,” Wadley said.

Three Crusaders finished with winning records over the weekend — Nick Gaines (5-0 at 106 pounds), Jacob Schulte (4-1 at 138) and Nate Jones (3-2 at 182).

“We told the boys it was going to be a difficult first couple of weeks,” Wadley said. “Today, before Ozark, we told them to put everything into that match and then be ready to go to work to be a better team the next time we step on the mat.”

The Helias varsity does not wrestle again until a Jan. 7 dual against Battle in Columbia. Until then, there will be a lot of time spent in the wrestling room.

“The staff, the kids, we’re glad to get past this and we’re all looking forward to training,” Wadley said. “We need some time to break things down, correct our mistakes and focus on getting better.

“We’ve made so much progress already and the next time we be on the mat, we’re going to look like a completely different team. We’re going to move to the next level.”

See also:

Wrestling: Missouri Duals results


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