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Scott, HHS ready for Classic

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School junior wrestler Vincent Scott doesn't concern himself too much with rankings, his opponents or even the competition most days.

He doesn't wrestle for fame. He does it for his own enjoyment and physical activity.

Scott often doesn't know how good wrestlers are until after he wrestles them.

"I don't really look at it as a really big competition," Scott said. "I wrestle for fun. If I lose, I lose. If I win, yay. "

Scott's attitude is surprising, because it's not like he's leisurely wrestling. In his first year on varsity at Hays High, Scott has performed extremely well, compiling a 21-4 record in the 285-pound weight class and knocking off several good wrestlers along the way.

"We've been working with him a lot," said junior Preston Weigel, ranked No. 1 at 195 pounds. "He's doing good. He's really strong."

But in some ways, his carefree attitude has hurt his prep wrestling career.

Last year, he started the year on junior varsity, but after several of his friends quit wrestling, he said wrestling wasn't fun anymore and quit the team.

Scott said he decided to go out again this year, because he felt lazy not going out for any sports.

However, it was difficult to get back into wrestling. He said it took a while to get his stamina built back up, and even now, he said he's not all the way back up to speed, explaining he's "three-fourths there."

"I don't have the stamina I did, so it's a little harder," Scott said.

Nevertheless, Scott has emerged as one of Hays High's top wrestlers. He isn't ranked, but he could be soon if he keeps wrestling like he has been -- not that he would notice.

"He doesn't care (about rankings)," Weigel said. "He just walks out on the mat and wrestles."

Hays High head coach John Hafliger said Scott's arrival wasn't a surprise to him.

"The kid is extremely talented and has a ton of skill," Hafliger said. "He is coming out and showing what we, as coaches, knew was there, and he's coming out and showing everybody else now."

Scott is light for a heavyweight. Hafliger said Scott typically weighs in around 230 pounds. He gives up as much as 55 pounds to some wrestlers, but Hafliger said Scott makes up for it with his strength and quickness.

"It's a lot of natural ability, a lot of natural strength and a lot of athleticism," Hafliger said. "He still makes mistakes, and those mistakes can be costly at times. But when he does mistake, a lot of times, he has the strength and the athleticism to recover from it."

Scott grew up in Hays, but moved to Junction City in middle school where he started wrestling in seventh grade. he moved back to Hays for high school.

Many of the best wrestlers start in elementary school, so he has been behind the learning curve.

But it hasn't seemed to matter much. Scott has only lost four times this season, and on Dec. 13 in a double dual against Plainville, he upset senior Bradey Chard, who is ranked No. 2 at 285 pounds in Class 3-2-1A.

Scott won with a 13-9 decision in a match that Hafliger described as not being that close.

"That was the real eye opener," Hafliger said. "... To see him, what I would consider, handle Chard was just amazing. It was surprising. I thought it would be a close match, but I thought Vincent dominated the match."

Scott is committed to the team this season as well. He said it's his goal to work as hard as he can and place at state.

Hafliger said he's seen enormous growth with Scott, not only as a wrestler but as a teammate.

Early in the season, Hafliger said Scott missed a practice, so he had a special meeting with him.

"I called him in and said, 'Vincent, are we heading down the path we were last year, or are you going to make a commitment?' " Hafliger said. "He said, 'No, I want to wrestle.' Since that time, he's made a commitment, and he hasn't missed any practices."

Scott follows a line of talented wrestlers at Hays High, including Weigel at 195 and senior Kyler Meyers who is ranked No. 4 at 170 pounds. From 145 pounds up, Hays High is solid and often goes undefeated in those weight classes.

The Indians will face Thomas More Prep-Marian in a dual at 5 p.m. today at Gross Memorial Coliseum and will compete at the Bob Kuhn Prairie Classic on Friday and Saturday at the HHS gym.

Hafliger said Scott has a good shot of placing.

"I think he has a legitimate shot, if he comes out, wrestles well and doesn't make mistakes of being a top-three or maybe even getting into the finals," Hafliger said.

"Since I quit last year, I thought I was going to be really rusty," Scott said. "I expected to be on varsity, but I didn't expect myself to be this good."