CATCHING FIRE: QUINCY HIGH GRAPPLERS JUMP OUT TO FAST START
Too thin/inexperienced in the upperweight classes.
Not enough marquis names in the program.
You could have leveled any one of these criticisms at Quincy High Wrestling Program preseason....
And if you had, you'd look pretty foolish right about now...
Calvin Cookson: "Being 4-0 as a team...it feels great honestly. All of the hard work is paying off in the (wrestling) room. We all push each other every single day."
Josh Culp: "We haven't started out undefeated ever since I've been here. Just getting the great start...hopefully, keep it up. I mean I've got high expectations with everybody working hard this year, I think we can beat anybody we wrestle this year."
It's a distinctly different vibe to Blue Devil Wrestling this winter as what Quincy High has sacrificed in proven, returning "star power" the Blue Devils seem to have recouped in overall balance....
Phil Neally: "Real Happy. I think that all the kids are coming together. We lost a great wrestler in Dakota Downs and I was kind of worried how the kids would respond and all of them have kind of worked together from our Freshman Class to our Senior Class to make things work."
Josh Culp: "Everybody...I have confidence in everybody. Every guy we send out there I know can get a win on any night against any kid. Yeah, we don't have the one guy, like last year, Dakota that everyone thinks "Oh...Dakota Downs." This year it's the whole team. Just...Quincy"
Calvin Cookson: "We have a very diverse line-up. We've got Freshmen through Seniors. We've got lots of lower classmen, two or three seniors so I feel like we are going to have a good team coming up in the next few years."
The most interesting dynamic at play on the mats may be the rise of the Blue Devil big guys. Now, we kind of new going into this season the promise of the lower weight classes, with the returns of guys like Garrad Straube, Michael Peters and Trevor Schutte. But there's been a real early season pop from a cast of formerly unknown...now power players.
Calvin Cookson: "Yeah...Me, Josh, Logan (Hagerbaumer) Matt Ballard...we are all underclassmen. None of us Seniors. David Baze at Heavyweight. We all still have room to improve. We all have two more years. Matt Ballard's got three more years. This should be a good turnout in the next few years."
Josh Culp: "Everybody's going to go out there. They are going to work hard and that's from everybody pushing each other in practice. And everybody's just consistently getting better."
Calvin Cookson: "I think we have a chance to be a great team in the next few years. We are a great team this year. We are 4-0. We got a lot of strong kids. Lot of strong underclassmen. I feel like we have a lot of potential."