Open the 2016-17 season Tuesday at home in a quadrangular

After a painful 2015-16 season in which the Boonville Pirates wrestling team finished 4-17 overall and 0-6 in the NCMC, it’s safe to say that things are looking up for the Pirate wrestlers this year.
With 19 wrestlers suited out for the 2016-17 season, the Pirate wrestlers will also return eight starters out of 14 weight classes under head coach Christian Stock.
“We have the most wrestlers on the team that we have had in a long time,” Stock said.  “We have a solid group of kids with good fundamentals and wrestling skills under their belt.  We also have a large senior class of six, which would have been seven without the injury in football for Landon Bail.  
“The other classes have decent numbers except our lone junior, Gabe Rumbaoa.  I think with the leadership and experience that we have we should have a strong team.  If things pan out the way I see it we should only have three opens at 106, 126, and 132.  All other classes should be filled.  I feel really good about our season.”
Although the Pirates will be better this season than in year’s past, Stock said the NCMC will once again have a pretty strong group at the top in Fulton, Moberly and Mexico. He said they are always pretty good dual teams because of the numbers they get out. However, he said if things go the way he envisions them the Pirates can land anywhere from right in the middle to the upper three.
“This would be a big improvement over the past couple of seasons,” Stock said. “We need to use our experience to our advantage.  The big group of seniors and the experience that they bring to the table will be another strength.  These are the same guys that I have been talking about for three years who have been the core of the team.  They have put in their time and are really doing a great job of leading this team.  They are a very hard working group who leads by example.  
“I also gained two back that didn’t wrestle last season in Remington Hammers and Wyatt Grizzle. Remi had an injury and Wyatt took the season off.  I had a conversation with this group when they were freshman and told them if they stuck it out until they were seniors they would have a chance to be something special.”
Of course only time will tell if this group of seniors and underclassmen are special. However with 3-6 open weight classes this season, Stock said that could be a weakness of the team.
“The three opens will start us 18 points down in every dual we wrestle,” Stock said. “The majority of the guys are used to this but the gap is not nearly as big as it has been in the past. If we can keep matches close in the lower weights, we will be very competitive in the upper weights. We just want to be competitive at all levels, though. I would like to qualify five or more to the state tournament and have multiple medal winners.”
With the majority of the team returning from last year, Stock said he chose two mottos this season for Pirates. They are “Practice Like Champions” and “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. He said he chose both of these and the kids liked them because they both represented this group and their characteristics.
Although the season starts up for the Pirate wrestlers on Tuesday at home in a quadrangular, Stock said the starting lineup could change depending on the wrestle offs. But right now, Boonville will be open at 106 and have two wrestlers vying for one spot in the 113-pound weight class. Stock said freshmen Carson Bail and Heath Danner will have a wrestle off at 113.  “Carson wrestled several years in kid’s club and has wrestled a year in junior high,” Stock said. “He has a decent set of skills. “As for Heath, he wrestled in club and freestyle the last couple seasons because he is from Blackwater, where they don’t have wrestling. From what I have seen in practice he has a solid set of fundamentals.”
Stock said it’s possible that either Bail or Danner could bump up a weight class to 120. Meanwhile, after opens at 126 and 132, Stock will look to another freshman in Josh Polk in the 138-pound weight class. Stock said Polk wrestled the last two years at junior high and has shown great quickness and good instincts on the mound. He also adapts well on the mat to situations, Stock said.
At 145, sophomore Gavin Vollmer returns from last year after posting a record of 5-25. Stock said Vollmer, who has grown a foot since the summer, will be looked at to add some key points this season to the duals.
Sophomore Charlie Pumel also returns from last year in the 152-pound weight class. While finishing 30-19 last year as a freshman, Pumel also led the team with 24 reversals, 15 three-point nearfalls, six two-point nearfalls, 22 falls and three major decisions.
Pumel was also one match away from qualifying for state last year. “Charlie has a solid background in wrestling and I look for him to continue to improve just like last year,” Stock said.
Stock also hopes that senior Remington Hammers also picks up where he left off as a sophomore in the 160-pound weight class this year.  While sitting out last year due to injury, Stock said Hammers is a solid wrestler who the Pirates missed in the starting lineup last year.
Of course the same could be said for senior Wyatt Grizzle in the 170-pound weight class. While Grizzle sat out last season, Stock said the senior grappler is a good fundamental wrestler who can add a ton to the lineup this season.
In the final four weight classes at 182, 195, 220 and 285, Stock already knows what he is getting with either Joel Concannon or Trey Schler at 182, senior Lucas Gerke at 195, Gerke or Gabe Rumbaoa at 220 and Keandre Anderson at 285.
Concannon finished 35-12 last year with a team-leading nine decisions while Schler returns after finishing with a record of 7-19. As for Gerke, he was 23-20 last year with 26 takedowns, 21 escapes, four reversals, three three-point nearfalls, four two-point nearfalls, 14 falls and three decisions.
As for Rumbaoa, he also finished the 2015-16 season with a winning record at 14-3 overall with 24 takedowns, 12 escapes, four three-point nearfalls and 10 falls.
Anderson also returns with experience for Boonville while finishing 27-11 overall with a team-leading 37 takedowns and 34 escapes. He also finished the season with 21 falls, which ranked behind only Pumel with 22.
Stock said Concannon, who finished second in the conference last year and was the lone state qualifier, is just a hard working wrestler.
“I have said it over and over about him,” Stock said. “He is pretty quiet in wrestling but leads by example every day. I can’t wait to see what he has for us this season. As for Trey, he is another hard working wrestler who has to try to break into the lineup.  As for Lucas, he is a natural leader in the room.
“I think he has prepared himself for a good season just like Gabe. Gabe knows he had a rough season last year and it ended unexpectedly for him at districts. I think he has dedicated himself to not let that happen again. It will be interesting to see where he ends up at the end of the season. I also think Keandre is going to achieve some good things this season. He is without a doubt the strongest wrestler on the team. He works hard every day and has made improvements every season he has wrestled.”