Wrestling season resumes tonight
Injuries and illness took their toll on the Lansing High wrestling team during the first month of the season, so the Lions welcomed their brief winter break as an opportunity to recuperate.
After a couple days off there was no easing back into the practice room. Instead, LHS coach Ron Averill welcomed his wrestlers back by drilling them hard the first day.
A quick glance at the competition schedule makes it clear why there are few, if any, easy days built into Lansing's practice schedule. Lansing plays host to Silver Lake and Santa Fe Trail at 5:30 p.m. today at Johnsmeyer Gymnasium. The Lions then compete at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Louisburg Tournament. Then they make their inaugural appearance in the Bobcat Classic on Jan. 12-13.
There is little fat to be trimmed from the schedule. It's beef all the way through. Because of that, Averill stressed the importance of endurance.
"With the competition we have coming up, the true opportunity that we have is to focus on being in the best conditioning that we can be," Averill said. "With the quality of wrestlers that we're going to be seeing, sometimes they're going to be wrestling guys that are equal to or maybe even a little better technically. How are you going to beat those guys? You beat them on conditioning.
"What we have to do is look for those little chinks in the armor, those places where we can beat them, and take advantage of that."
Averill's emphasis on conditioning bears extra importance entering tonight's duals because Lansing traditionally has had some long matches against both Silver Lake, a traditional Class 3A powerhouse, and Santa Fe Trail, a 4A power and the defending Kaw Valley League champion.
Averill said those opponents were about as tough as Lansing could ask for in its first competition back from winter break.
"We've had a week break, but it seems like it's gone in a snap," Averill said. "Now we have to be focused and ready to really push ourselves and get ourselves back up into competition form because we come back with Santa Fe Trail and Silver Lake."
The Louisburg Tournament won't be any easier. One of Class 5A's top programs, Gardner-Edgerton, will be there. That's an opponent LHS wrestlers likely will have matches against at the state tournament.
"We're going to have guys coming up with state-ranked competition (today) and Saturday both," Averill said. "There's no opportunity to ease back into the season. We have to come in and have a solid showing those two dates because next week's the Bobcat Classic."
As if this week's slate isn't loaded enough, Lansing will see St. Thomas Aquinas, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A, at the Bobcat Classic among a slew of other state-ranked teams. A few weeks after that it'll be time for postseason competition.
"I wish I could say there was somewhere easy we could catch a breath," Averill said. "But there's not."