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Monarch wrestling begins season

By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

The only thing Thomas More Prep-Marian wrestling coach Josh Peterson is asking of his young 2013-14 squad is the Monarchs show up and work hard.

So far, so good.

But Peterson, the Monarchs' second-year skipper, admits his squad --  just eight strong -- will undergo some growing pains, especially with four freshmen.

"Very young squad. Looking to have a bigger squad next year, but we have a good group of eight guys that will work hard," Peterson said. "That's the No. 1 thing. They work hard and support each other.

"It should be an exciting year."

The season began Thursday with a 76-12 dual loss to Ellsworth at the former Kennedy Middle School gym. TMP was open in seven weight classes, and featured freshmen in four of the seven matches wrestled. TMP picked up a forfeit victory on Ellsworth's open class at 106 and got a pin from sophomore Ricky Hockett at 126.

Hockett pinned Ellsworth senior T.J. Roediger with 1:11 left in the third period for the Monarchs' only wrestled victory.

"Ricky is going to be real tough to beat," Peterson said.

Hockett wrestled at 120 pounds as a freshman for the Monarchs. Also returning for 2013-14 are sophomore Jacob Roth (160), senior Justin Raynesford (152) and senior Mason Lagree (HWT). Lagree is out until the semester break due to personal reasons.

The Monarchs also had four seniors who did not come out this season.

The rest are freshmen, and it showed a bit in Thursday's opener.

TMP was pinned five times.

"There are still some middle school 'problems' I guess," Peterson said. "They have to take that next step into high school wrestling. They'll be tough."

One of the bright spots in the opener Thursday was freshman Tucker Rhoads' performance for the Monarchs.

Up against last year's third-place Class 3-2-1A finisher at 106 pounds, Rhoads took on Bearcat senior Ty Nienke in the 113-pound match. Rhoads wrestled tough in what ended up a 9-0 win for Nienke on near-fall points.

"Tucker, in his first match out, had a real tough match," Peterson said. "And he wrestled him tough for just a freshmen.

"He's had two weeks of high school practice."

The Monarchs have a junior varsity tournament this weekend that was originally scheduled to be at home, but now will compete in Larned on Saturday. Four of the eight wrestlers will compete in the junior varsity portion of the schedule. The next varsity action is the Minneapolis Invitational on Dec. 14.