Ya know, one day I'd like to own a set of bagpipes. Not to play, just because they're cool.

Chase County Wrestling team poses for a picture. Photo by Linda Drake

Wrestling season is once again starting in full force, and the wrestlers couldn’t be happier to be back. With their first tournament right around the corner, now is precisely the time to learn valuable information about the individuals to help better follow their progress.

“My strong points in wrestling would be neutral and top. I do well on my feet and getting takedowns,” junior Kenzie Rodgers said. “After I take them down all I need to do is do well on top to win the match.  My biggest weakness is being on bottom. I don’t do well on bottom and struggle to get on my feet or get a reversal.”

Wrestling runs deep in the community, with many wrestlers’ parents being former wrestlers themselves.

“I wrestle because all it runs in my family. Most of my family members have wrestled so I wanted to keep it going,” Rogers said. “I also wrestle because I believe wrestling has an impact on people for a lifetime. It teaches you many new things and many life lessons.”

Wrestling practice can be fairly intense, but those who rise to the top often have to make sacrifices, in this case preparing early for the season.

“I did some wrestling during the summer, and football has helped to get me in shape for the season,” junior Micah Cauthers said. “I also know how to throw people because I used to do Greco-wrestling.”

Wrestling is an extremely dynamic sport, with every wrestler having their own unique style and strategy, some less orthodox than others.

“My biggest strength is my sheer flexibility,” senior Taylor Palenske said. “If I’m facing someone of equal strength, I can’t pin them, but with how flexible I am, they can’t keep a hold of me. It just turns into a battle of endurance with me trying to outlast them into the third period. This is also my downfall though, because if I can’t pin them and I start to tire, I lose.”

This year will be an ambitious one for the wrestlers, and the seniors plan a triumphant last year on the mat.

“I’m hoping to be a state placer at minimum,” senior Mitchell Budke said. “My goal is to shoot for being the state champion if it’s an option. I’m definitely strong in knowledge of technique, and I have been wrestling for 14, maybe 15 years, so I, hopefully, have the experience. Last year I was one match off of placing at state.”

With the stage now set for the season, the first tournaments are scheduled for Dec. 3, with the boys heading to Wamego and the girls to Emporia.