Taking bite out of Tigers
Takedowns and conditioning.
That's the point of emphasis by the Morris wrestling team right now under coach Jon Lanning.
There was a lot of that going on in Tuesday's non-conference win by the Redskins over Princeton in a 63-9 win by the locals over the Tigers.
While much of the emphasis to this point has been for the Morris football players to get into wrestling shape, even last year's state qualifier Justin Barkley says there is still a lot of work to be done.
"I'm still trying to shake the rust off," Barkley, who doesn't play football, admitted. "I'm trying to get back into the groove. Get back where I was when I went to state last year. I want to get my moves back to when they were clicking."
They were certainly clicking on Tuesday. Barkley scored a 21-6 technical fall over Silverio Napules by getting six takedowns.
"It's a matter of getting out and facing people again," Barkley said. "Getting those moves back and doing them right away."
Another wrestler who recorded a technical fall (18-3) for Morris was Jake Crowther.
"Jake is starting to come around. He's been a wrestler who has been so close to taking that next step. He was finishing his shots tonight," Lanning said.
Morris' Cody Decker also won by technical fall 19-4. Additionally, Morris got two wins by fall. Emmett Chouinard won by fall in 2:37 and Trevor Allbert won by fall in 3:42.
"Emmett stepped into the lineup, filling in on varsity and did a nice job," Lanning said.
"Emmett demolished his kid," Barkley said. "I was happy to see that."
Five other Morris wrestlers won by forfeit - Nik Countryman, Dalton Ness, Andrew Faught, Kenny Baldridge and Ryan Kowalczyk. Morris 126-pounder A.J. Vota won 7-3 and Ian Bernard at 106 won 10-7.
"We're working on conditioning and getting better on our feet right now. We lost a lot of points in the tournament last weekend on our feet," Lanning said. "A lot of high school matches are won and lost on the feet."
Lanning said that a classic example of getting better in that regard against Princeton on Tuesday was Allbert.
"Trevor is one who has gotten better on his feet," he said. "He looked good."
Morris will now wrestle again at home on Thursday against DeKalb.
"I can tell a lot of the guys on the team are starting to get into shape," Barkley said. "Early on in the season a lot of the guys were back and on their heels in the first period. Now I can tell the team is taking better shots and we're also working a lot better on the top and the bottom."