By Rob Kiser
One thing Piqua wrestling coach Scott Kaye doesn’t spend a lot of time to worry about — and makes sure his wrestlers don’t either — is worrying about their draw for the district tournament.
And that is no different this year as Sam Herndon (120), Tristan Hostetter (126), Kobe Scott (138) and Andrew Bolin (145) prepare for the district tournament Friday and Saturday at Trent Arena.
“Every match is going to be like finals match when you get to district,” Kaye seed. “Obviously, you are going to have a little better matchup if you finish second —but everybody at district is capable of making it to the finals. If you are going to go in thinking you are going to win because you have a good draw, then you are going to be in trouble.”
All four Piqua wrestlers have district experience.
Herndon, a junior, has the most success.
He missed by one match of getting to state a year ago, before finishing sixth.
Herndon, 3-10, opens with Colerain senior John Carraher, 24-8.
“Getting to state is the goal,” Herndon said. “I am coming off finishing second at sectionals, so I feel good. I don’t know anything about the guy, but that doesn’t matter. I am just going to go out and wrestle my match.”
Hostetter, another junior, is back at district after not qualifying a year ago. He advanced to district as a freshman.
“Definitely, that (getting to district) was the goal all year,” Hostetter said. “It definitely feels good to have accomplished that. The ultimate goal is to make it to state. Having been to districts as a freshman, I don’t think I will be as nervous.”
Finishing fourth at sectionals gives Hostetter a tough match to open with.
Hostetter, 23-14, will wrestle sectional champion and returning state placer Chase Craft of Northmont, 38-1 and a senior.
“I have nothing to lose,” Hostetter said. “I am not going to hold anything back. When I struggle it is with getting my offense going. I am just going to give it everything I have.”
Kaye said anything is possible.
“These guys have wrestled tough matches,” he said. “It is just a matter of what are you going to do now. Are you going to do what you need to do.”
As the prep wrestling careers of seniors Scott and Bolin wind down, it is much the way it began.
The two cousins have wrestled together since youth wrestling and Scott transferred from Troy — where he was a two-time district qualifier this year.
“I can’t think of anything better than having your drill partner at district,” Scott said. “Not to mention someone your close to. It definitely helps having Andrew (Bolin) there.”
“It has been great being in the same room as Kobe (Scott) this year,” Bolin said. “We are drill partners. We are drill partners and it is great to someone you can talk to and have that emotional support with.”
Scott, 33-7, finished second at sectionals and will open against Harrison senior Quinzell Foster, 19-10.
“I don’t know anything about him,” Scott said. “He is the only one in my weight class I don’t know anything about. You just have to go out and wrestle your match. At this point, that is all you can do.”
Scott said every match will be a tough one.
“It might be help me having been to district before, but this is a deep, loaded class,” he said. “You just have to believe (you can win) every match.”
Bolin said there is a different confidence level for his this year.
“This is my senior year,” he said. “My goal is to state. This is it. There is no reason to hold anything back. You just have to go out there like every match could be your last — because it could be.”
He will open against a familiar foe.
Bolin, 34, wrestles Lebanon senior Dillion Kuntz, 26-11.
“We wrestled three times last year,” he said. “I won twice and he won once. So, I know what to expect. I feel like I have a good chance to get to semifinals, which would give me a better shot at state.”
Kaye said that can work either way.
“Sometimes, that can be an advantage,” Kaye said. “Sometimes it can work against you.”
The same as losing early in the tournament.
“Sometimes, guys wrestle better once they have a loss,” Kaye said. “Sometimes, it relaxes. Either way, you have to be expecting a championship match in every match. They are going to have wrestle their very best in every match.”
If they want the season to continue for another week.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.