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Pioneers hit the mat
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The Warren County High School wrestling team is going through its final preparations before the start of the season, one coach Matt Turner thinks could be a very successful year.
With a number of upperclassmen returning and a talented freshman class in tow, coach Turner is looking forward to the start of the season.
“We’ve got a lot of experienced guys back,” said Turner. “We’re also adding some young guys to the team who I think have talent. They’ve done some good things at the middle school.”
The Pioneers begin their season Nov. 22 with an away event at Oakland, but coach Turner’s team has already been tested in preseason.
The Pioneers traveled to Forrest last Saturday and competed in a field which included Smyrna, Wilson Central and Lincoln County.
Warren County had a great weekend as the team combined to 31-14 overall in a day full of matches.
The Pioneers got undefeated performances from Ben Francis, Bailey Breist and strong showings by a handful of freshmen.
Francis is the senior leader of the Pioneers and wrestles in the 170-pound weight class. Francis, along with Breist and Joe Carroll, return with the most experience at the varsity level for the Pioneers.
Freshman Christian Lopez, who went 3-0 at Forrest, leads a freshman class that includes Tristan Reish, Harlyi Turner and Dwight Woodlee.
The freshmen aren’t the only guys who didn’t wrestle last season that coach Turner expects to make an impact this season.
Spencer Pryor could make a splash in the 145-pound weight division this season. Pryor missed all of last season with a shoulder injury but has bounced back and shown flashes of being a big part of the Pioneers success. Pryor was 4-1 at Forrest last weekend.
Also wrestling this season are seniors Cory Prince and Nicholas Sangi. Both are first-time wrestlers who have played football for the past four years.
Other Pioneers expected to contribute this season are sophomore Briar Reedy and juniors Jacob Raper and Derrick Williams.
The wrestling team, which Turner estimates will include 25 members, will face a grueling schedule this season. The Pioneers will participate in 19 events, five of which will be held at Charlie Dalton Gym.
The biggest home events this season will be the Pioneer Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 17 and the regional tournament on Feb. 10-11.
The Pioneer Invitational in an annual event which normally includes over 100 wrestlers from schools all across the midstate.
The regional tournament will span two days and will be the launching point for wrestlers to qualify for the state tournament. In the past two years, the Pioneers have had three wrestlers move on to the state tournament after successful runs in the regional tournament. The latest was departed senior Trevor Reish last year.
The first home match for the Pioneers is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 29. Warren County will play host to Forrest and Franklin County beginning at 5 p.m.