Helias builds character during difficult season

Wrestling lessons learned

The Helias Crusaders had just two wrestlers qualify for the Class 3 state tournament.

But Nick Gaines and Jacob Schulte didn’t go through preparations alone last week. Nearly the entire team did what it had the entire season — go to study hall, then off to practice. They were going to finish the season together.

“They’re still a team, they’re a family,” Helias coach Jacob Wadley said. “I think the experience of the season has been a winning one. It was positive.”

The state tournament saw Helias finish deep in the Class 3 standings with 3 team points. But that finish doesn’t define the Crusaders’ season.

“We built some character, we learned to deal with adversity and every one of them showed they won’t back down,” Wadley said.

Wadley was complimentary of the effort of Helias’ six seniors — Slater Schrimpf, Austin Schnieders, Nate Jones, Alex Schwinke, Ben Davis and Kyle Pickett — displayed in his first year as head coach of the Crusaders.

“They learned a lot about wrestling and from the start, they accepted me and were excited,” Wadley said. “All things rust and fade, but what you can take away is how you react in situations, be able to get back up and not stop, everyone has carried that mentality.”

Wadley recalled something a senior told him after the conclusion of the district tournament earlier this month in Kansas City.

“One of them said it was the best experience of his life,” Wadley said. “If you can get kids to say that after one of the most grinding seasons you can have in high school sports, that says something about your program. The kids are getting more than wrestling from this sport and a goal we achieved.”

Not that it was always easy.

“There were times I had to get away, I know it was hard on the kids to go through a season of just getting pounded on,” Wadley said. “But we made it through and we went through a great experience together.

“If we can stay positive as coaches and the kids stay positive, we can build something. And we did that this year.”

Additional state wrestling coverage:

Blair Oaks captures state wrestling title

Jays earn four medals

Fatima sophomore takes third

State Wrestling: Area team and individual results


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