Priory wrestling coach Steve Rolwes is ready for his Rebels to compete in their own tournament, a final test before the postseason begins.
The Priory Tournament will be held Saturday, Jan. 27 at 9:30 a.m.
It will be the last tournament of the regular season for the Rebels. Priory will meet Hancock on Jan. 31.
The district tournament begins Feb. 9.
Competing Saturday will be John Burroughs, Kirksville, Winfield, Cleveland NJROTC, Miller Career Academy, New Madrid County Central, Soldan, University City, and McCluer High School.
Rolwes said this is something in which the boys look forward to hosting and competing.
“Absolutely. It is always nice not having to travel for a tournament and to be able to wrestle in front of your own fans and in your home gym is always exciting,” Rolwes said. “They always seem to give a little more.”
The Rebels are the defending team champion. But the field is a good one, Rolwes said. It’s a tournament anyone can win.
Rolwes knows what he wants to see from his squad Saturday. “I want to see them put it all together, be aggressive and have fun competing at home for the last time.”
The Rebels have proven successful in tournaments this season. Earlier this month, Priory captured the Metro League Tournament title at Principia. Priory earned two conference championships in a row by claiming the title. The Rebels finished first with 121 points; Westminster Christian Academy was second with 114 points; Principia came in third with 90; MICDS was fifth with 63 points.
“Traditionally, we have been competitive. But last year was the first year in the history of the school that we won the league in wrestling,” Rolwes said. “So to do it in back-to-back years is amazing. There have been a lot of pretty good wrestlers in the league over the past several years, so it is always fun and competitive. The other coaches in the league do a great job with their programs.”
Rolwes has enjoyed seeing his squad improve over the course of the season.
“The guys have been doing really well,” Rolwes said. “Our schedule has been busy with some tough competition spread throughout, but everyone continues to get better each week, which is the goal.”
Scoring the league tourney title over Westminster is a solid accomplishment, Rolwes said.
“Westminster is always a well-coached team with tough kids,” Rolwes said. “[Coach] Tim [Muehleisen] does a great job with that program and I have a lot of respect for them.”
Winning the league tourney championship was important to his team, Rolwes aid.
“The majority of them wrote it down as one of their goals for the team this year,” Rolwes said. “So to see them improve each week and work toward a common goal has been a pleasure to watch. They were definitely thrilled, but realize there is still a lot of wrestling left this season.”
Priory won several weight classes in the Metro League meet.
Senior Greg Rolwes won at 170 over Issac Bledsoe, of John Burroughs.
“Greg was winning 15-4 before pinning him in the second period,” Rolwes said. “Greg is a returning state placer. He is extremely motivated and competing at a high level right now. This was actually the third straight year he has been the league champ at his weight class. Greg also recently became the wrestler with the most career wins in school history.”
Senior Ethan Bagwell won at 182 with a win over John Burroughs’ Johnny Browning.
“This year has been his first exposure to varsity wrestling,” Rolwes said about Bagwell. “Ethan was winning 5-2 before pinning Browning in the second period. There was a bit of a scare in the first period when we got reversed but we were able to get focused in the second period.”
Junior Bret Wang won at 285 over Westminster’s Jack Powers. Wang scored a 13-4 decision.
“This year is the first time he has seen varsity action as well,” Rolwes said about Wang. “He is actually a 220-pounder, but currently is being blocked out of the lineup by Dalton Bingman. So he had to wrestle up at heavyweight for the team and that win was huge for us.”
Luke Bagwell also won at 113 pounds by default.
Other Rebels performed well in the league meet. Junior Elliot Holdosh came in second at 120. Sophomore Dalton Bingman was second at 220. Adam Rolwes won third place at 132.
Senior Nate Abad finished third at 195, winning 5-1 over Patrick Andrews from Westminster.
“It was probably his best match of the season and he wrestled really smart,” Rolwes said of Abad.
Overall, it’s been a good season with plenty more to come for the Rebels, Rolwes said.
“I am very proud of my team for all of their hard work, and I am looking for them to continue to improve before districts,” Rolwes said.