Augusta's wrestling team has 10 seniors and returning state finalist Jake Goldenstein who will push the Orioles toward a big season. The Orioles will host a Class 4A regional tournament in February.
Lifestyle versus lifestyle. That’s the message coach Brandon Terry heard at a clinic this past summer that he has implemented in Augusta’s wrestling program. When the Orioles step up to face an opponent on that mat, Terry wants them to be confident they’ve already done what it takes to win before the match even starts. “Wrestling is more than just practice, and it’s more than just that one match. Everything that you do the whole year, it essentially is going to come into play in February,” Terry said. “How hard you work in the practice room, your eating habits, your sleeping habits, schoolwork...” It’s a message that has permeated thoroughly and resonated strongly with the Orioles, because this year’s squad is confident and has high expectations. “I’m thinking, honestly, first at Regionals, and a lot of us actually placing at State,” senior Chance Runnion said were some of the goals the team had for itself this season. Augusta begins the season at home against Andover Central and Campus 5 p.m. Thursday for a double dual. The Orioles finish the regular season at home, as well. Augusta will host a Class 4A regional tournament, which the Orioles feel will give them an extra boost as they work to get as many state qualifiers as possible. Top-heavy lineup Augusta is loaded with seniors. And a lot of them are in the heavier weights. The Orioles have 10 seniors, most of which have significant varsity experience. Runnion, Colby Willis and Jacob Hill are returning state qualifiers. They were a big part of the Orioles’ push the last month of last season that led to a regional runner-up title. But they want more. “We still have to build off of it. We can’t take what we got last year and hope that’s good enough,” Willis said. After achieving his goal of getting to State for the first time, Willis now wants to place at State, and he feels if he corrects some errors and continues to be more aggressive, he will reach his goal. Cory White, who showed some of his talent during his breakout season last year, wants to challenge himself in the practice room by competing against tougher teammates. “It’ll help me win harder matches,” White said. Even during Monday’s scrimmage, he and fellow senior Brett Hamilton had a triple-overtime match before Hamilton pulled off the win. Hamilton has come close to qualifying for State both of the past two seasons. He feels he is better prepared to get over that hurdle and get to State. “I feel like I’m stronger than I usually was in my previous weights.” Other seniors, like Quentin Spainhower and Jake Ehrlich, are looking for state berths, as well. “They’ve all worked hard to get where they’re at,” Terry said of the senior class. Practice habits The Orioles have a deep roster. There is a lot of quality varsity experience throughout the lineup. In certain weight classes, they have four or five guys who will be competing for spots in the lineups. Hamilton said this is only going to make everyone better. “Everybody is fighting for that top spot. If you’re not on top of your game every day, it can easily slip away,” Hamilton said. At times, practices have been even tougher than usual for the Orioles. “One day, we had to clean the mats four times during practice because they were just covered in sweat,” Runnion said. Several junior, including Wright Bosley, Blake Aitchison and Colton Clayborn, have good chances to be competitive for a state berth. Then there’s sophomore Jake Goldenstein, who finished as the 4A state runner-up last year. He only lost two matches last year and should be in the running for a state championship come February. Augusta schedule: 11/29 Double dual - Andover Central, Campus 12/1 @ Emporia tournament (JV) 12/1 @ Pratt tournament 12/6 Dual v. Bluestem 12/8 @ Andover Central tournament (JV) 12/8 @ Douglass tournament 12/13 @ Rose Hill double dual (Mulvane) 12/14 @ Council Grove tournament (JV) 1/3 @ Clearwater dual 1/5 Augusta tournament - Andover, Andover Central, Buhler, Cheney, Circle, Columbus, Douglass, Garden Plain, Labette County, Newton, Smoky Valley, W. Southeast, Kapaun 1/10 Dual v. Circle 1/12 @ Kapaun dual tournament 1/17 @ Winfield dual 1/24 Dual v. Wellington 1/26 @ Marion tournament (JV) 1/26 @ Chanute tournament 2/1 - 2/2 @ Rose Hill tournament 2/7 @ Andale dual 2/9 @ Valley Center tournament (JV) 2/9 @ Remington tournament 2/15 - 2/16 Regional tournament - Augusta (Host) 2/22 - 2/25 4A State Tournament (Salina)