After taking 39th at last year’s Missouri Class 4 State Wrestling Tournament, the Lindbergh High School Flyers are looking to rebuild this season with one of the program’s strongest turnouts in recent years, according to head coach Josh Hansel.
“I think that so far, we’ve got a lot of competition in the room right now,” Hansel said. “We’ll be young, but we had over 70 kids come out for wrestling this year.”
The Flyers suffered a major blow to their lineup before the season even started when junior Kyle Suda suffered a dislocated shoulder. Suda normally would wrestle at 135 pounds and is expected to return sometime in January.
“Kyle’s a guy who has a little bit of varsity experience from last year and they say that he could be back by mid-January,” Hansel said. “If that’s the case, someone will be already wrestling in his spot and he’ll have to fight his way back into the lineup.”
Two seniors return to this year’s team as Matt Biehl and Eric Pashia hope to take on a key leadership role to this year’s group of young Flyers.
The 2008-2009 season will be Biehl’s third on the varsity squad as the senior captain battles for the Flyers at 119 pounds.
“This is Matt’s third stint on the varsity and he’s just a hard-working kid,” Hansel said. “The kids recognized that and voted him the captain of the varsity team. He’s just a guy that gets after it.”
Pashia also is a three-time member of the varsity squad and will compete at 189 pounds.
“Eric’s kind of in a similar boat as Matt in that he’s a three-time varsity wrestler,” Hansel said. “Hopefully, he’ll see some success on the mat this season.”
Juniors Greg Butz, Dan Greiss and Michael Glover return to the varsity squad this season and they look to shore up the Flyers’ mixture of youth and experience in their starting lineup.
Butz was the team’s most improved wrestler last season, and the Flyers head coach hopes that he’ll improve on last season’s success at 125 pounds.
“Greg was voted the team’s most improved wrestler last year and he’s one of those kids who we look to build on his success from last year,” Hansel said.
Greiss is a 160-pound wrestler who has the potential to qualify for the state championships if he can stay consistent.
“I think Dan’s got a lot of ability and potential,” Hansel said. “We’ve got to make sure that he doesn’t have any letdowns this season. I feel as if he’s going to have a solid year.”
At the heavyweight category is Glover, who also could do well this season, according to Hansel.
“I expect Michael to have a pretty big year,” Hansel said. “He wrestled a little timid last year because he was wrestling lighter than most of his competition. I think he’ll do really well at heavyweight this year.”
The Flyers are in action this Friday and Saturday as they wrestle in the Parkway South Invitational.
“Parkway South is a pretty tough tournament that’s evenly balanced,” Hansel said. “I think that we can be competitive, which is good because you don’t want to go into a tournament where you’re not challenged or you’re overwhelmed.”