Waterloo’s wrestling team will have strength in numbers this year. Coach Pat Stewart and the team will be looking to their depth to lead them to team and individual awards.
“The more kids you have to wrestle, the better your team becomes,” Stewart said.
At varsity matches, there are 12 weight classes. Waterloo will hopefully fill all 12 at one point this season, but are currently using 11 solid wrestlers.
They’ve got a good mix of athletes, with all class levels represented as starters. The seniors may be what carry them over the top for team championships this year.
“We’re going to be tough to handle down the road,” Stewart said. “Our nemesis is Triad. We’ve got to beat Triad in the conference to see if we can win the conference this year. That’s the nemesis for everyone in our conference this year.”
Stewart said that Triad doesn’t have nearly as complete of a team as they have had in the past. This could be Waterloo’s year to pounce. The team returns four of six wrestlers that made it to the sectional tournament a year ago.
Current seniors Mack Mundy, Austin Stewart and Kory Schaefer were joined by junior Cory Cissell at the sectional tournament last season. Coach Stewart expects all four to make it back this year. He also added that he thinks it’s possible 11 wrestlers could make it.
“I just see good things from all the kids,” Stewart said. “They’re working hard and taking what we give them. They’re applying it. Tuesday night (Dec. 1) we wrestled at Mt. Olive. The kids went move to move to move and we were out with all pins.”
The team is currently 6-1 overall. A good indication of the team’s success this year is that they just won the Civic Memorial Holiday Tournament this past weekend. Last year, they took second place at the event.
Schaefer took first place inthe 182-pound weight class; Austin Stewart took second in the 152-pound class; Kory Johnson, Max Jennings, Bryce Kirk and Dylan Siebenberger each took third in their respective weight classes.
Kirk, a sophomore, and Dalton Viglasky, a freshman, are expected to make an instant impact this year, according to coach Stewart.
They’re just building on a program that continues to build.
“We want to keep building the program and keep getting kids in,” Stewart said. “Our little league program is getting huge numbers right now. We’ve got 30 plus kids in the program right now, which will keep getting us better.”
The Bulldogs wrestling season continues with a home match against Jerseyville on Thursday.