After completing one of the most successful seasons in the school’s history McClain wrestling Coach Shane Paul has some big concerns to begin the new year.
Paul who enters his fourth season as head coach of the McClain wrestling program thinks that a lot of in-experience along with some injuries will be a major concern this year.
“We have a lot of in-experience on this team along with a few experienced ones that can wrestle at a high level and game in the middle,” Paul said “Injuries are a big concern for our team right now and we will probably struggle for awhile, especially at the start of season.”
“Over half of the kids in our line-up are fighting through some injuries.”
The Tigers finished with an over-all team record of 13-11 last year which was the most wins ever at McClain and senior Brandon Davis qualified and placed at the state.
Two other talented wrestlers lost to graduation are Roscoe East who was a district qualifier and Coty Barnhart who was a league champion in his weight class last year.
Five seniors Dylan Trefz, Kylee Stroud, Dillon Hunick, Shawn Haddox, and Kevin Willis will be expected to lead this youthful group into the new season, although Haddox and Willis are both first-time wrestlers.
Trefz won just six matches as a sophomore but turned it around last year and was out-standing winning thirty.
“Dylan (Trefz) made some serious strides last year by winning 30 matches after getting only 6 his sophomore season.”
Hunick who is considered a league favorite in his weight class this year will also have high expectations after qualifying for the state his sophomore season.
“I think Dillon (Hunick) has wrestled most of his life and is definitely going to be an important part of our team puzzle this year.”
Some other key returners will be three sophomores Gabe Smith, Jake Badgley, and Ethan Paul. Smith was impressive last year when he posted 20 victories in an upper weight class while Badgley and Paul were very competitive despite wrestling some of the league and area’s best people in some tough weight classes.
“Jake (Badgley) wrestled in one of the toughest weight classes in the S.C.O.L. and was a fighter all year showing no quit ever and Ethan (Paul) worked harder than anyone on the team in the weight room over the summer and is a lot stronger.”
“I work these kids hard and we’ve already had some pretty talented people quit, wrestling is a tough sport and it’s not for everybody.”
“Our practices are never easy and it’s like a coach that I had in college once said wrestling practice is like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. It’s going to feel better after you stop for the day and that’s how wrestling practice is supposed to be and that’s how I run mine.”
Paul said his main focus this year is the same as last, work practice to the highest level so nobody is ever short-changed.
“I push our room at championship pace and I’m not going to cheat anybody that has a possibility to be on a state podium.”
“Our practices are never soft and if some our younger in-experienced kids are going to keep up they will have no choice but to work hard.”
The main goal for Paul this year is to see a couple of Tiger wrestlers make it to the state championships.
“Last year we had Brandon Davis place at the state so this year I would like to see another state-placer and have a couple more qualify.”
The S.C.O.L. is considered again this year to be one of the most competitive in the state and with the addition of Chillicothe it is going to be even better.”
“I think Miami Trace will be the league favorite this year because they are really deep in talent and well coached.”
“It’s going to be a challenge this year for me but I’m really looking forward to it. These kids know my style and what I expect and one thing I can say for sure there is never any quit in my kids, they will compete and fight to the end.”