The first month of training for the Helias Wrestling season is over. Now begins the three months of competition. The Crusaders had their first duals on Wednesday against Warrenton and Hannibal. The Crusaders went 1 and 1 for the night, beating Warrenton and losing to Hannibal. This weekend, the Crusaders prepare for their first dual tournament, the Fox Duels, at Fox High School in Arnold, Missouri. Crusaders start wrestling at 5 p.m. this evening.
The Fox Duals will have 16 teams grappling. Four of them are from the state of Illinois. The tournament has teams compete that are both nationally-ranked and state-ranked. Last year, the Crusaders only brought eight wrestlers to wrestle for the duals and took 14th out of 16 teams. It takes 13 wrestlers to make a full dual team. This year, the Crusaders will be taking ten wrestlers. They will be giving up a total of 18 points before even stepping on the mat.
“It’s hard to do well at a very tough dual tournament like Fox duals when you don’t have a full team,” said Coach Bryant Gaines. “We got to go in there and pin every match we get, just to do well.”
Most teams are going to have multiple people at the same weight class, in case one gets injured, the other can wrestle. All the schools going to the tournament are in class four for wrestling, except for Helias and Whitfield.
“I think everyone in the room is fully prepared for the tournament,” said Coach Jonny Kusick.
The Crusaders will find out after weigh-ins which pool they will be placed in. How well they do in their pool determines how high they will be seated in the main bracket for the tournament. Pool play will happen tonight and bracket wrestling will begin Saturday.
“I have high hopes for the team this year at Fox,” said Nick Schnieders. “I hope to do better than last year and place higher. I would like to see five wrestlers go to state this year and see myself place.”