LINDSBORG — What is expected to be a good season could turn into a great season for the Smoky Valley wrestling team.
The Vikings are very good with the wrestlers they currently have in their practice room, but are hoping at some point to gain two key performers after Christmas that could elevate them into Class 4A championship contention after they were third in the state last year.
Jarod DeMott, a 220-pounder, and heavyweight Brix Brickey both suffered knee injuries before the football season ever started. They were expected to be stars for the Vikings, who advanced into the 4A playoffs before finishing with a 5-5 record.
Ben Elliott, in his 11th year as head coach, is hoping both will be back, even if it’s late in the season. Brickey was third in the state last year and DeMott could be a Top-6 contender as well.
Even without those two stars, the Vikings are still plenty good. Austin Cook was the state champion last year at 170 and opens this year ranked No. 1 at 182. Caleb Sare (126) and Brandon Archuleta (145) are two-time state qualifiers.
Elliott said Cook and Archuleta, both seniors, have worked hard and will provide the team with a lot of leadership.
Austin Lustfield (113) and Nils Peterson (195) are other experienced hands.
Ben Elliott is high on a good sophomore class that includes Noah Lackey, Austin Golden, Beck Elliott, Alan Wampler and Bret Sauvage.
“We look to be competitive in the league again this season and our goal is to repeat as league champions,” Elliott said.
The Vikings open the season Saturday in the Riley County Invitational. Elliott has scheduled his team basically in nothing but tournaments, as the only dual is Dec. 11 when it hosts McPherson — the only time they are at home this season.
• SCHEDULE •
Dec. 6 — at Riley County
Dec. 11 — McPherson
Dec. 13 — at Clay Center
Dec. 20 — at Abilene
Jan. 10 — at Augusta
Jan. 17 — at Clearwater
Jan. 31 — at Baldwin
Feb. 6 — at Rose Hill
Feb. 14 — at CKL at Hoisington