The team traveled to St. Ann Dec. 11 to the ABC Invitational wrestling against some great competition.
"Our kids are wrestling so well right now that I look forward to a productive season," said coach Dan Ruby. "We had some of the best matches of the tournament."
One was with Jacob Stinnett. Jacob was behind on points 4--3 when going into the third period. He came back to win 5--4. "That was exciting for everyone -- Jacob ended up with a second place finish," said Ruby.
Stinnett's little brother, Josh, is a very aggressive wrestler that takes control of the mat as soon as he's on it.
"Josh is only 6-years-old and dominating on the mat," said Ruby. "He left with a first place title.
Another set of brothers is the Middleton boys, Garrett and Cody.
"These two have so much talent when they wrestle," said Ruby. "As a coach you can always count on them to give it their all. Garrett is only 6-years-old and brought home second place. Cody, the older of the two, dominated the whole tournament. Every match I would tell Cody to be the offensive wrestler, to attack on the whistle, and he did. Cody won his first championship of the season."
A first-year wrestler, Adam Johnson, has picked up the sport quickly and pushes himself on the mat. Johnson brought home third place in his first ever tournament.
Gage Barber, a second-year wrestler, is also winning a lot. "Gage works hard in the practice room and that's what it takes to win," said Ruby. "Gage won his second championship of the season, making him undefeated."
Trey Smith won the championship with almost no problem.
"There was no one that could even stay with him," said Ruby. "Trey is so strong and aggressive at his age (6) that he intimidates his opponents."
Austin Bewley and Jacob Holt are a couple of younger wrestlers coming through the program. Ruby says they are going to be the leaders in a couple of years.
Bewley took second place and Holt took fifth.
Two first-year wrestlers that have impressed not only the opponents but everyone watching them.
"Clay Williams and Zach Shaw have come in and learned everything we have shown them," said Ruby. "They are very aggressive and not scared of anyone. Clay is a natural wrestler and has won two championships in a row this year. Zach has great balance and I believe he can take down anyone he comes in contact with. Zach took first place in his division."
Also winning their first championships of the season were Drew Harper and Dustin Ruby.
"Drew is a very competitive wrestler," said Ruby. "He's very good on the mat. We do a lot of drills in practice and Drew never quits. Drew wrestled very hard every match and showed it with a first place finish. Dustin is very aggressive when he steps on the mat. He can get himself so pumped up before a match. Dustin has one thing on his mind and that is winning."
Coming off a season with a record of 21--4, with 18 pins, Ruby is expecting an even better season this year out of Dustin Ruby.
"Katarious Harrington is one of my stronger boys that likes to do some throwing around on the mat," said Ruby. "We have been working on takedowns and he is improving with every tournament. Katarious placed 2nd in his division."
Levi Henson and Brandon Newell wrestled in their first tournament ever and performed well. Levi won 3rd place in his weight class and Brandon won 4th in his.
"We expect great things from these two newcomers," said Ruby.
Brandon Flippo won 2nd place at St. Ann. Flippo is another first year wrestler not having any trouble in the bigger tournaments according to Ruby
The Heartland Wrestling Club, in just its second year, currently has 62 members.
"We have several coaches that volunteer their time as well as great parents of these young wrestlers that all want to see this sport grow here in Sikeston," said Ruby. "Our club is very disciplined and the kids give it all they have in the practice room. Most of the coaches wrestled in school under (longtime former coach) Marc Stevener and we run the club pretty much like he did. There are a few things that are different but not many."
Heartland Wrestling competed this past weekend in the St. Louis Open.