Berryville excited for 2017-18 wrestling season
The Berryville wrestling team is looking to improve on a fourth-place finish at the state wrestling tournament from a year ago. It will be up to first-year coach Derrek Aynes to do just that. As the Bobcats traveled to Mountain Home for their first match of the season on Thursday, Aynes said he felt as if this season had a chance to be a good one for Berryville.
"These guys are hard workers," Aynes said. "They do everything that we ask them to do. We have some talent and hard-nosed kids that will continue fighting even if they are down. That will show later on in the match. If we are down, we aren't going to give up. We are going to end up scratching that win out instead of giving up and losing it."
Berryville's Kris Grile won a state championship in the 145-pound weight class last season. Grile has graduated, but Aynes said he expects other wrestlers to step up and contend for championships like Grile did a year ago.
"We have quite a few kids coming back from last year and we also have a couple newcomers as well that we are expecting to compete for state championships in their weight division by the end of the year," Aynes said.
Christian Lemus, Colton Record, Cesar Martinez and Brett Parsons are among the returners that Aynes is expecting big things from.
"We are using this first part of the year to figure out what weight we need to be at and where we fit at best as a team and individually," Aynes said. "Trying to iron things out and see where we need to be at as well as getting mat time. We just need to get some matches in and get back in the groove of things."
Newcomers on this year’s team include Anthony McClellan and John Barrios.
"I think Anthony should be competing toward the end of the year and I think John Barrios is another one that by the end of the year and especially next year he will be a good wrestler," Aynes said.
The Bobcats will get plenty of mat time in the next month alone. Along with several matches, Berryville will be going to tournaments in Fayetteville, Bentonville and Maumelle.
"The more matches you get in, the more well-equipped you are to know what your opponent might try to land on you," Aynes said. "Then you will know how to defend it, or vice-versa. It gives you more experience on trying to get in and take him down. Just more experience both offensively and defensively."