Cubs seek growth at Diamond
Monett looks for more positive signs at triangular
Monett senior Jaron Beeson smiled when asked if he got tired during his first varsity match last week.
Beeson, along with eight other wrestlers who had played football, only had three practices under their belts before competing in their first duals.
"I was gassed at the end of the first period," Beeson said. "I'm not in [wrestling] shape yet, and I just had to effort my way through the match."
Beeson still scored a 15-3 victory, and eight of the nine football players earned wins.
Monett Coach Daryl Bradley had expressed reservations about letting his football wrestlers compete. He wanted to give them a chance to become acclimated to the season.
"When we held our first weigh-in, we had some weight issues both ways, [some too heavy and some too light]," Bradley said. "Any time you have an extended football season, you'll have those problems."
However, Bradley added that he has an experienced team, and every wrestler, when given the choice by the coach, opted to compete.
"Football conditioning and wrestling conditioning are two different workouts," said Kedric Brink, Monett senior. "I was winded by the second period, but I knew I could gut it out. I wasn't going to sit on the sidelines."
Brink said it can take his body a quarter of the season to get into peak wrestling shape. Beeson said it could be a month before he felt 100 percent on the mat.
"The more we practice, the bettered prepared we'll be," Beeson said. "I know what I have to do to get ready."
On Thursday, Monett travels to Diamond for a double dual -- also known as a triangular -- with the Wildcats and Webb City.
Bradley is excited, but does not know how many matches they'll get.
"Diamond only has five wrestlers," he said. "Seneca handled them pretty easily last week. Webb City has three state qualifiers back, but not much else."
Two matches Bradley is keeping an eye on are the 220- and 170-pound classes.
Webb City's Brandon Musselman, a third-place finisher at state last season, will face Monett's Jacob Negre in the 220-pound weight class.
"Jacob left Monday's practice weighing 198," Bradley said. "He has the option to go down to 195 or up to 220. The Musselman kid is tough and it should be a good test for Jacob."
The other matchup is at 170 between Monett's Ian Meyer and Hunter VanLue.
"Both were state qualifiers last season," Bradley said. "Ian beat him during the season, but the kid is a tough wrestler."
Monett also expects the return of Garret Bradley and Dominick Witherow to its lineup, both former state qualifiers.
"We've worked hard in practice this week and the boys are in better shape," Bradley said. "We still have a long road ahead, but I think you'll see a more polished product on the mat Thursday night, at least better than last week."
Matches are set to begin at 6 p.m.