By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
Jory Dick has accomplished one of his goals since taking over as Enid’s head wrestling coach in the summer of 2011: retention.
That experience, he said, can be seen in the team’s improvement before officially starting the season Friday and Saturday at the Perry Tournament.
“It’s Dec. 3, but we’re where we were Jan. 3 last year,’’ Dick said. “We’re so much farther ahead technique-wise and physical wise. They are much better wrestlers for having been in the system for two or three years.’’
The Plainsmen, which had its first state qualifier in four years last year (220-pounder Jake Scott), have set the bar higher for 2012-13.
“We would like to put five to seven guys at the state tournament,’’ Dick said. “We got lofty goals, but we got the guys in room to make a run for it. Sometimes, I believe in them more than they believe in themselves.’’
The Plainsmen did have some setbacks with two returning starters out — 106-pounder Teran Black (motorcycle accident) and 182-pounder Isaiah Singleton (shoulder).
“There are some big shoes to fill, but we can still accomplish what we want to accomplish,’’ Dick said. “It’s just going to be a little more difficult now.’’
Here is a weight-by-weight look at EHS.
106: Newcomer Joseph D’Auteuil has impressed Dick with his spirit and attitude.
120: Freshman Troy Gray had some “breakthrough moments’’ at the preseason Yukon Open, including a win over a Carl Albert senior. Dick said Gray has made the transition from middle school to high school “as well, if not better, than any kid that I have had.’’
126: Junior Billy Grothe gained valuable experience wrestling for Oklahoma’s Junior Olympic team last summer. He has potential both on his feet and on the mat.
132: Senior Scotty Phillips “is on the cusp of being a .500 guy,’’ Dick said. He has put extra work in.
138: Tony Saladio should be improved with his weight stabilized. He is strong on his feet.
145: Senior John Choi is “beginning to come into his own,’’ Dick said. He is being pushed by freshman Dolan Burroughs.
152: Junior Keegan Clayton, a returning starter, has “made some positive moves,’’ Dick said. He’s tall and lanky, “which can make it hard to wrestle him.’’ Freshman Anthony Gonzales has been impressive as well.
160: Senior Hunter Nixon has had success, but still is looking for the “breakthrough moment,’’ Dick said. He won’t have to pull weight, which should help him.
170: Sophomore Hank Schulz “is the hardest-working kid in the room,’’ Dick said. He has a strong future, Dick said.
182: Andy Reyes “might not pass the eye test, but he can wrestle,’’ Dick said.
195: Zach Overbeck earned freestyle All-American honors by finishing eighth at 220 pounds at the ASICS Vaughn Cadet Nationals this summer. He was a state junior high champion and might have qualified for high school state if not for a back injury.
220: Scott, the EHS student council president, has taken a huge leadership role, Dick said. The coach sees him being even more productive as a senior.
Heavyweight: Footballer Mason Dillard has cut his weight from 295 to 278 so far in workouts. He is being pushed by freshman Gavin Richmond.
The team’s biggest asset may be its intelligence. Choi, Nixon, Phillips and Scott will be taking the ACT again this weekend with eyes on academic scholarships.
“Guys on other teams have a goal to make a 24,’’ Dick said. “Our guys have made a 30 and want to make a 31. As a coach, I’m very proud of that.’’
Enid has a difficult district schedule with Sapulpa, Claremore and Stillwater. Enid will host Sapula in its first dual on Dec. 13.