Junior varsity wrestlers young, but growing


While the varsity is taking down opponents on the mat, the junior varsity is learning.

“The more time they get on the mat the better they get everyday,” said South Walton Wrestling Coach Carey Nick of his junior varsity squad.

The junior varsity wrestling Seahawks is made up mostly of freshmen with one junior on the squad.

“They’re growing … I call them green bananas,” Nick said. “We’ve got some growing pains, but they’ve come a long way in a month.”

Just last weekend of couple of the junior varsity wrestlers earned their first victories.

Ninth grader Alex Cao won his first win in the 113-pound division in the Capital City Classic in Tallahassee, while Grant Leuze, also a freshman, got his first win of the season in the 138-pound category.

“When he (Grant) got off the mat, he was happier than a goat eating briars,” Nick said.

The young wrestlers are learning a lot from the varsity team.

“I’ve got five guys I can count on every day,” Nick said.

The five varsity wrestlers he counts on are Cody Pickren, sophomore, 126 pounds; Reed Yandell, junior, 120 pounds; Spencer Molenda, senior, 160 pounds; Matt Winkler, senior, 170 pounds; and Brian Yanhe, junior, 182 pounds.

“They’ll be in the medal round every time. I count on them to lead the young guys,” Nick said.

As for the varsity team, “they are right where I want them to be,” he said.

Molenda and Pickren just beat a couple of the top five ranked wrestlers in the state at the Capital City tournament last weekend.

Although the junior varsity is young, “the experience they gain now will teach them to be tough and disciplined … and in life in general.”

Up next for the South Walton wrestling team is the Beast of the Beach on Okaloosa Island this weekend.