DISTRICT NEWS & PR
WRESTLING PREVIEW: Kahoks off to strong start
December 03, 2009
December 03, 2009
Collinsville looks to move forward after loss of Robinson
It's never easy replacing your graduated seniors, but it's even tougher when one of them is your school's third-winningest wrestler of all-time.
That's the task facing the Collinsville Kahoks, who graduated just two seniors from last year's squad. But one of those is Ryan Robinson, who amassed 140 wins in a brilliant prep career that led to a spot on the University of Missouri wrestling team. He qualified for the Class 3A state meet at 189 pounds each of the last three seasons and finished second in the state two years ago and third last winter.
"I don't think you replace a Ryan Robinson. You just hope another blue-chipper can come along and be as good as him," Kahoks coach Tom Blaha said. "But you don't replace him. You just move forward and do the best you can."
Collinsville did get the new season off to a great start last week sweeping a home meet that also featured Quincy, Chatham Glenwood and Carbondale.
"Last year, in the same opener, we only won two of three and this year, we won three of three," said Blaha, who has a mark of 111-73 in nine seasons at the Kahoks' helm.
A trio of Kahoks - senior Dan Mueller at heavyweight and sophomores Andrew Altenberger at 160 and Ramon Deavila at 125 -- went 3-0 with three pins.
After a 33-win junior season, Mueller came into this year with 77 career victories, which tied him for 14th on the all-time Kahoks career win list. Mueller came into the season ranked seventh in the state at 215, which is a weight he might also wrestle at this season. All three of his pins on opening night came in a total of just over one minute.
"He is so strong and he works hard," Blaha said. "And his intensity level is high. He is a great leader to have on the team. He's well on his way to a great year. He should wind up with over 100 career wins, which would put him up in the top 10 all-time."
Altenberger was a solid 28-13 with 11 falls last season as a freshman.
"He is another one who has done a great job," Blaha said. "He had 28 wins last year and we expect more big things from him this year."
Deavila also had a good freshman campaign, compiling a 20-18 record.
"The 3-0 is a good start for him," Blaha said. "If he keeps working hard, he will be fine."
Besides Mueller, there are only two other seniors in the Collinsville lineup. They are Justin Cerna at 189 and Stephen Bennett at 215.
"Cerna lost his first two matches last week and split his eye open in the second one and couldn't go in the third," Blaha said. "Bennett went 1-2, but he competes hard."
The Kahok juniors include Craig Bush (119), Zach Haneline (130), Josh Hannon (135), Luke Huster (140), Andrew Nyland (145) and Travion Medina (152).
Nyland, a three-year starter, tied Mueller for second on the team with 33 wins last season. Bush (19-14) was also above .500.
"Nyland won all three of his matches last week, including two by technical fall. He is now just three technical falls behind the school career record (26 by Rocky Maxville from 1986-89)," Blaha said. "And Bush can help us."
Altenberger and Deavila headline a solid group of sophomores that also includes Matt Waters (112).
Also making their way into the starting lineup is a pair of freshmen in Kenny Sims (103) and Shaquille Reveter (171). Sims had a strong 3-0 performance in the season opener.
"Sims came from junior high and those coaches do a great job for us," Blaha said, "so the kids come in with knowledge about what we teach."
The Kahoks have a couple of very good tests this week. They will have their first Southwestern Conference matchup at 6 p.m. Thursday when they help christen Edwardsville's new Jon Davis Wrestling Center with its maiden conference voyage.
"Edwardsville was ranked fifth in the state preseason," Blaha said. "Edwardsville and Granite City are the front-runners in our conference (Granite was ranked 11th in the preseason). We would like to be at their level."
Following that match, Collinsville will take part in the 13-team Chatham Glenwood Tournament on Saturday. The Kahoks won it last season.
"Six guys that are in our lineup now placed in that tournament last year," Blaha said. "We'd like to go back and defend our title and see where the year takes us."