By Mark Jurgena
First-year head coach Jordan May welcomes approximately 30 boys and six girls to the wrestling room this winter to represent Collinsville High School this winter.
“I’m really just looking forward to seeing this team grow under my guidance and seeing how well we do against these other teams,” said May. “We have a very young team this year. It gives me a really good opportunity and they can learn everything I’m wanting to show them.”
The boys team lost seven seniors from a year ago including state qualifier Austin Stewart. Stewart is now wrestling for Northern Illinois University. Cameron Varner has also moved on to wrestle for Fontbonne.
Those seniors have been replaced by 15 freshmen.
May is excited about several wrestlers in the Kahok program including Cameron Minner, a sophomore who returns after qualifying for the sectional at 106 lb. a season ago. He will wrestle at 120 this season.
“He’s been showing up to the room and putting in the work,” said May. “I’m really looking forward to this season, seeing how he develops as he matures.”
The boys begin their season Tuesday at home with a quadrangular against Chatham (Glenwood), Carbondale, and Quincy at Fletcher Gym.
May has six girls in the wrestling room as well this season. According to May, they do not have an official girls team this year but they are trying to increase interest in the sport. The girls will have a schedule of seven girls-only tournaments this year. Also, the IHSA still allows girls to wrestle coed so they can compete for varsity spots in the boys matches as well.
“We have six girls coming to practice,” said May. “They are very consistent and they have a lot of talent. I’m excited about that. Last year I was involved with Taylor Dawson and her state final second place finish. That was really awesome to be part of that. It’s a really big part of our history in our sport so I’m really excited to see that grow.”
Dawson is returning for her sophomore campaign. After a whirlwind summer of competing in a number of events, she is ready for another fine season.
Last year she finished runner-up in the 125 lb class at the first-ever IHSA state tournament. She also compiled a 19-23 overall record including 8-2 in matches against female competitors.
The opening tourney for the girls will be on Nov. 26 at Normal Community High.