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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Wrestlers reach for next level

Sunday, November 17, 2002

From left: Adam Miller, Kyle Weeks and Joe Johnson.
SIKESTON -- Considering what transpired last season, Sikeston has a lot to be excited about in the upcoming varsity wrestling season.

The Bulldogs went 6-4 in dual matches, and were able to push three wrestlers through a brutal district and sectional to the state tournament.

A good deal of that team returns this year, along with some promising young talent, giving Sikeston the potential to be even better.

"From the first week and a half of practice, there's no doubt in my mind, this is an improved team from last year," said Sikeston coach Chris Hodgkiss. "Not to slight our team last year, we did quite well. It was the first winning season we've had in seven years. But these guys have had great attitudes these first couple of weeks and they've really been working hard. I think they believe that they're better, and that's a key. They are working hard to prove that."

Senior Adam Miller qualified for state as a sophomore, and will be competing in either the 119 or 125 division.

Miller had a solid season last year, but ran into some tough luck. There were five returning state qualifiers in his district, and he failed to qualify for the state meet. He finished the year with a record of 20-8.

Junior Kyle Weeks qualified for state last season in the 125 class, and finished the year with a personal record of 31-11. He is expected to wrestle at either 130 or 135 this year. Sophomore Joe Johnson qualified for state last year as a heavyweight. He finished with a personal record of 21-20. Cleveland Anthony also made it to state, but was lost to graduation.

"My main and number one goal every year is to send as many kids as possible to state," said Hodgkiss. "We sent three last year, which was more than we've had in several years. I would like to double that number."

Other top returners include juniors Scotty Keenan and Cody Weeks, and sophomore Cody Ryan. Senior 103-pounder Jeremy Freeman is also expected to contribute.

"I have a lot of juniors coming back with varsity experience," said Hodgkiss. "Quite a few of them have wrestled on varsity as freshmen and sophomores. Maybe they're finally going to get to be the upperclassmen. I also have quite a few that wrestled in eighth grade, but didn't in ninth grade. Now, they're back as sophomores. I've also got a lot of my juniors and seniors back out."

There are currently 32 kids out for the team. Sikeston will open the season Nov. 26, hosting Poplar Bluff.

"We've had really good, intense practices," said Hodgkiss. "The kids really seem motivated."