Eager to put his own stamp on the program, Heath Meder will take the reins of the Hays High wrestling  team after seven years as an assistant coach with the Indians.

Meder, a Hays High product, was named head wrestling coach on Thursday morning. 

“As soon as I knew it was a possibility of getting that head coaching job and that role was open, I jumped on it,” Meder said. “I’ve been part of the team for over seven years and I’ve seen a lot of these kids before that, being in the district and coaching wrestling at the middle schools. Since I got out of high school and started wrestling in college, I knew that I would love to have a program of my own one day.”

Meder said the Indian wrestlers will look to establish an identity. 

“It’s making it your own and really identifying with what you want it to be,” Meder said. “As of right now, my plan is to start fresh and build a foundation and let these kids know that this is something new, this is the next page. We’re hoping to build a championship team. Let’s start fresh and build something brand new that maybe they’ve never seen before.

“As we get in the room more and more and start building with what team we’re going to have and know the kids, I think we can start to build and really having an identity for Hays High wrestling,” he added.

Meder replaces John Hafliger, who resigned as Hays High coach at the end of last season.

Key returners for next season include freshmen Gavin Meyers and Gaving Nutting. Meyers placed fourth in Class 5A at 182 pounds while Nutting was a state qualifier at 220 pounds.

“They’re successful already and you hope to elevate them, because if they just stay at that (level), then you’re unsuccessful almost," Meder said. "It’s really exciting, but also there is that level of expectations to get there.

 “When you talk about two freshmen — one’s placing at state and another one’s right there — that’s a great foundation to start with,” Meder said. “We’ve got a great bunch of kids, all classes, with everyone that is coming back through. We’ve already got the work ethic built in and hopefully they can all see the success that I know we can achieve.”