Cats place 5th at KVL
Joe Johnson ended last year as a surprise qualifier for the state tournament after finishing the year with a sub-.500 record. After accomplishing his goal of reaching Salina, Johnson went 0-2 in the 119-pound bracket. This year, merely reaching the state tournament will not be enough.
Johnson says his goals are to finish with a winning record and place at the state.
"It is one of those goals that I have to try to beat," Johnson said of the state tournament. "People want me to do it again."
Johnson said there will be increased expectation this year because, as he says of his opponents: "everyone is looking forward to me."
Johnson said this year's team is "a lot" better than last year and that it is easier to work hard when the team has success. He said a lot of his teammates worked hard over the summer to improve their strength and technique.
With new wrestlers competing on this year's team, Johnson's roll has changed.
"We are a lot younger--there are quite a bit more freshmen," Johnson said. "I am gonna have to show more leadership. It is a lot harder than last year, because the seniors are gone and the freshmen are looking up to me. I'm showing the freshman what to do."
Johnson said he is trying to go down a weight class as the season progresses and that he is "learning to move around more and not just stay on the mat."
After the Bobcats finished 3-2 and placing fifth in this weekend's tournament at Mill Valley High School, coach Scott Neil said that Martin Back, 125; Symon Seaton, 112; Miles Brown, 119; and Joe Johnson, 130; were wrestling well early in the season and leading the team.
The heavier weight classes seemed to struggle, and Johnson agreed with that assessment.
"Our bigger guys are cutting down on mistakes," Johnson said. "I think it is experience, because most of the higher weight classes are filled with freshman. I think it is going to be a rough spot all season, but at the end of year we will get better."