Owens Optimistic for ’Cats Wrestlers
With their first ever season of wrestling in school history under their belt, the Paden City Wildcats are hoping this season will be their next step toward respectability among Class A schools.
Coach Michael Owens, who pushed hard to get the program started at Paden City, will go into his second year with 12 wrestlers filling every weight class.
“I feel the program is already heading in the right direction. Last season we had a few tough kids but no real experience. We lacked depth and were unable to be competitive, because we couldn’t fill the weight classes,” Coach Owens said.
“We lost a good wrestler in Rander Amos to graduation and we’re going to miss him,” Owens added.
That is the bad news for the Wildcats. The good news is, they have a roster to fill every weight class.
Owens likes the outlook for the 2018-19 season and is optimistic the team will reach the goals it sets.
“It’s still early, but I like what I see in this group. They are hard workers and are willing to learn. Having a real gym to practice in is making a difference. It’s giving the kids a better feel for the atmosphere they will be competing in. We have six seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen on the squad. I expect the seniors to be leaders and help the younger kids learn the ropes and guide them along,” said Owens.
Back from last season is Ryan Cross, competing in the 220 lb. weight class. Cross had some success last season while also battling an injury most of the year. He has good technique and has developed some good moves. With his strong upper body and a great attitude, he should be very competitive and a hard draw for every opponent.
Cross has set some personal goals and will be working hard to stay on the winning side. He will also be one of the captains and a leader of the team.
Another senior back from the ‘Cats’ first ever team is Michael Shreves, who will serve as co-captain with Cross. Shreves will battle it out in the 152 lb. weight class; he’s a tough kid and will give an all-out effort in every match.
Last season he won a couple matches and was close in nearly every match. He had the experience of competing in the giant OVAC meet and the state regionals. Shreves is capable of coming out on top in every meet; his speed, strength, agility and willingness to win give him an edge before the season even gets underway.
Rounding out the roster for the Wildcats will be seniors Jacob Malone (285 lbs.) Dustin Clegg (195 lbs.) Alex McCoy, (145 lbs.) and Dalton Pennell (120 lbs.); juniors Loren Littel (138 lb), Jacob Bolen (170 lb), James Beaver (182 lbs.); sophomore Doneven Clark (160 lbs.); and freshmen Jasup Spragg (113 lbs.) and Allen Jones (126 lbs.).
“Every one of these athletes is important to this team. We need them all and look forward to helping them improve and becoming better wrestlers with each meet. Some of these younger kids are really surprising us with their work ethic and the way they are picking up on the moves. We watch them close to make sure they stay injury free while also encouraging them to give extra effort to become winners,” Coach Owens said.
The Wildcats open the season with a road trip to Clarksburg for the Liberty Rumble on Saruday, Dec. 1. They will then travel to Linsly on Dec. 5 for a quad meet and will compete Dec. 7-8 in Ritchie County.