WHS wrestling cultivating culture
The Waterloo High School wrestling program is looking to cultivate its next crop of potential state qualifiers after graduating its most successful class of seniors ever.
“That senior class was the best wrestling group WHS has ever seen in my opinion, and they set the standard for the kids coming up,” Waterloo head coach Chase Guercio said.
Those seniors included Jordan Sommers and Brandon Lloyd, who are now both wrestling in college.
As for the 2022-23 season, Guercio said the Bulldogs will likely start 10-12 underclassmen out of 14 spots in the varsity lineup.
“I am excited about this year’s team,” Guercio said.
Waterloo returns three sectional qualifiers from last year who will all be sophomores.
Ty Kinzinger went 20-11 last season as a freshman and will be a big-time contributor in the 113-pound class.
Jackson Deutch finished 17-12 last year and has plenty of youth wrestling experience.
Bladen Sease was the other sectional qualifier last season.
“I look forward to all three of them making great strides this year and going on a postseason run,” Guercio said.
Jason Hooser. a senior, was one match away from sectional qualification last year.
“He has worked like crazy in the weight room since last season and it really showed up on the football field,” Guercio said of Hooser. “He should be in for a good year.”
Newcomers for the Bulldogs include freshmen Konnor Stephens and Vincent Goodman, who both have experience in the youth wrestling program.
Guercio also credited the work of assistant coach Rodney Newbury with developing the wrestlers over the years.
“A previous Missouri state medalist, he is really the secret weapon who gets the most out of our kids,” Guercio said of Newbury.
Guercio said the goal for his program this season is to compete with everyone on the schedule and embrace the opportunities available.
“We also want to retain kids and show them that wrestling can be a fun and worthwhile sport,” he said. “We wrestle in a tough conference and have added some solid competition to the schedule over the last few years.”
That includes Missouri wrestling powerhouse Whitfield, which has won six straight state championships. The Bulldogs will also compete in the Granite City Holiday Tournament, which typically has national-level talent.
“I think opportunities like this allow the kids to see what it takes to be great at the sport,” Guercio said.