Author: Grant Egger – [email protected]
A little more than a week into their preseason, the Arlington High School wrestling teams made their public debut on Nov. 21 during an intrasquad scrimmage.
As the warm-up continued, the single mat at center court at the Eagles’ Gymnasium looked fuller than in recent years.
“Numbers-wise, we’re making progress in both the boys and girls, which is good to see,” coach Doug Hart said. “A lot of fresh faces. We are young in both the boys’ and girls’ teams.”
AHS has a total of nine returning letterwinners, including six boys. Returning are Kolton Gilmore, Trey Hill, Jake Flesner, Ben Flesner, Tanner Kyllo and Tate Johannes.
“Kolton Gilmore has been around forever,” Hart said.
The same can be said for Hill, the Eagle’s most accomplished returner. The multiple state qualifier earned his first state win last season in Class C at 113 pounds.
“Lead by example — that’s what Trey does,” Hart said. “He comes in and does the work, and I hope our younger kids see that.”
The senior topped Braxton Soll during the Nov. 21 bout, 4-3, while Cameron Hancock, Owen Meehan, Johannes, Gilmore and Karson Foust also picked up wins on the mat.
Jake Flesner and Kyllo did not wrestle during the competition, but they did compete in Omaha during the NSAA Championships last February along with Hill.
The Arlington girls, meanwhile, failed to qualify for state during their debut season last winter. However, Carly Segebart, Kelise Krivohlavek and Jaydin Allen are back after five district wins.
Teagan Taylor and Caitlyn Camp also join the wrestling team after competing on the inaugural team last school year.
“They can take the youth and introduce them to our team culture and what we’re trying to build,” Hart said.
Newcomers include Brooklyn Ruskamp, McKenna Creswell and Dianna Flores. All three won scrimmages during the Eagles’ Nov. 21 contest.
Still, Hart said Arlington’s focus is on getting better this season.
“When we met as teams in the preseason, we talked about team goals and team culture,” he explained. “Both programs and both teams emphasized self-improvement, being positive, getting better every day — building off each other.”
Both the AHS boys and girls officially open the winter campaign with a tournament Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Columbus Lakeview. They then compete in the Ralston triangular on Dec. 7 before a Dec. 9 road trip to North Bend Central.
Finally, on December 12th, the Eagles host a pair of doubleheaders at 6pm with the Elkhorn Antlers.
“As the season goes on, through the games, I just hope to see improvement,” Hart said. “Trying new things and working on the things they need to work on.”