ROSSVILLE — The Rossville wrestling team had a pair of regional qualifiers last year in senior Trenton Fadness and sophomore Jacob Taylor.
However, the Hornets will be without Taylor (15-13) this season after he broke his leg playing soccer in the fall, a tough blow for second-year head coach Mike Fadness. But with the exception of 160 pounds and heavyweight, Mike Fadness should be able fill out the remaining 12 roster spots.
“We were giving up 30-36 points a match,” Mike Fadness said. “130, 132, 138 (pounds), we are three-deep in those. It’s nice to be able to have No. 1 JV wrestle-offs. Our Fridays are typically our wrestle-off days and this last one, we had three wrestle-offs which we didn’t have last year.”
Trenton Fadness (16-16) is one of three seniors on the team, and the 126-pounder has been the leader throughout the offseason and preseason practice. Mike Fadness was also encouraged by his son’s performance in a summer wrestling tourney at Harrison.
“Some of the regional qualifiers were over there that we faced and Trent had his way with them,” Mike Fadness said. “We started weightlifting at the end of last year as part of a new workout program I put together. His bench has increased by about 100 pounds. That shows that extra strength and he’s wrestling with the confidence he didn’t have last year. I feel he’s going to have a good season.”
Rossville’s other leader is also a senior, 145-pounder Seth Querry (16-13). Mike Fadness has been impressed with his work ethic thus far.
“Those two, I look at going far,” Mike Fadness said.
While they are the team’s top two wrestlers, a number of other grapplers have plenty of varsity experience from last season, including junior Ryan Leibenguth (138 or 145 pounds), sophomore Shayden Hughes (152), sophomore Jocey Martin (170) and senior Aaron Rothenberger (182 pounds).
Newcomers include freshman Tyler Fadness (106 pounds), freshman Chase Latizia (113 pounds), freshman Kyler Crow (120), sophomore Adam Easterday (132), sophomore Austin Rangel (138), junior Jake Guffey (195) and sophomore Billy Dotson (220).
“Ty had a really good middle school year last year,” Mike Fadness said. “He’s going to have a good year and will do well. Jake Guffey at 195 has picked it up.”
Freshman Kraig Tumey (220) could wrestle up to heavyweight.
“Billy won the spot Friday (at 220),” Mike Fadness said. “He actually has dropped 30 pounds since conditioning started and he’s down to 214 now.”
Junior Brett Howard (15-17), who wrestled at 160 pounds last year, is currently not with the team but could return in January.
The Hornets’ biggest loss is that of the graduated Kyle Miller, who went 22-6 at 120 pounds last season.
“The 120-pound spot is hard to fill with the loss of Kyle Miller. He won a lot of matches,” Mike Fadness said.
Rossville opened its season Thursday against Caston and will wrestle in the Lafayette Jeff Invitational on Saturday.