Lakers enter brand new season with big aspirations

From Head Coach Grant Leighty: 

Class/District: Class 3, District 3

2019-19 Record or Finish: 9-7 in duals

Moved or Graduated: Kylan Draper, Sam Gray, Seamus Lamb, Isaiah Logan, Chris Morgan, Austin Rippe and Ryan Rothove

Top Returners and any Accolades: Taylor Mustain (34-5 record, state qualifier and Academic All-State), Belle Simpson, Cort Petty (fifth at state), Jacob Fuglsang (state qualifier), Grant Garrett (state qualifier), Cale Bentley, Jacob Ziegler, Dakota Boller, Bryce Leuenberger, Mason Draper, Kaiden Davis, Dakota Davis and Marcus Stephens

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: I believe this year’s team will be one of the most talented teams that Camdenton has put on the mat in several years. It has the potential to be very balanced with its level of experience and some very good wrestlers sprinkled throughout the lineup. They should enjoy success that they can build upon and get tougher each week.

Our girls program is looking to increase its numbers significantly. We had two wrestlers last year in Taylor Mustain and Belle Simpson and are hoping to have eight to 10 this upcoming season out of the 12 weight classes. We had three to four working out most of the preseason. We have been blessed with two seniors coming out this season. Alicia Smythe comes to us with some experience having wrestled in middle school and Aeryn Kennedy is one of the best female athletes we have here in Camdenton.

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this program at this point in time?

A: We had several wrestlers competing in offseason wrestling tournaments at both the local and national levels. We had a very successful offseason camp where wrestlers for Drury University came down to facilitate. Many of our wrestlers are football players and will bring that winning attitude with them into the season. All this will help prepare them for the job ahead.

Half of the new girls wrestlers we are planning on competing this season come in with some experience, either from MO/USA or middle school. This experience will be very helpful for them. 

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping the team can improve upon?

A: We are not going to be attending a tournament during the Christmas break so we can focus on coming out during the second half and hopefully be hitting on all cylinders. We have some very strong seniors and juniors, plus a couple of sophomores, that will be in the hunt for some hardware at the state tournament.

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the keys to success are for this year?

A: We just want to come out and get better each week and be where we need to be come February. I feel we have the wrestlers to do just that.