By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — Lehman wrestling has a big hole to fill in the graduating of 170-pounder Skylar Brown, who placed fifth at state a year ago.
The good news is the current wrestlers at Lehman got a first-hand look at what it takes to be success in the sport.
“For sure, he was a great wrestler,” Lehman coach Cameron Haller said. “His leadership in the room — that is what we are really going to miss and that is going to hurt a little bit. But, these sophomores and juniors got to wrestle with him in practice for two years. That is the legacy he leaves behind.”
And the cupboard in not bare.
Leading the way are juniors Wyatt Long (182), Jake Earhart (170) and Brandon Simmons (145).
Long is a returning district qualifier.
“He won two matches at district,” Haller said. “Which means he was one of the top eight guys at district, so we have high hopes for him.”
And Earhart and Simmons will be counted on to join long in that leadership role.
“They have been wrestling since youth wrestling,” Haller said. “They have been wrestling ever year and they are experienced. We are counting on them for leadership. Wyatt (Long) and Jake (Earhart) were leaders for the football team this fall, so they have already had a season’s experience doing that.”
The sophomores are Aldo Barrera (132), Alex Musser (152) and Collin Haller (160).
“Collin (Haller) is coming off a back injury last year,” Haller said. “Alex (Musser) got his feet wet last year and Aldo (Barerra) was near .500 as a freshman.”
Two freshman joining the high school program are Alex Ham (126) and Ethan Knapke (152).
“They both were very successful at the junior high level,” Haller said. “I think Ethan (Knapke) only lost two matches last year. It is going to take some time, but we have some talented wrestlers.”
Lehman will only fill seven weight classes (out of 14), which leads to different goals in the dual meets.
“Even if all seven guys pinned their wrestlers, we would only tie the other team (because of forfeits),” Haller said. “Our goal is always to win at least four of the seven matches. We don’t wrestle in a lot of duals, but we do go to the Covington Duals at the end of the year, which is a good one.”
The Cavaliers also go to some strong tournaments.
“The CTI and Ben Logan are the two biggest ones,” Haller said. “The CTI is at Elder this year and that is the biggest tournament we go to. We see top level competition from all three divisions at those tournaments. Our schedule is geared towards getting our wrestlers the best competition they can see.”
And see who will be next in continuing the legacy left by Brown when the season gets underway Tuesday with a home dual.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.