The depth of the Keller wrestling lineup may be as strong as ever and thus far, the outcomes are backing up the claim.
Keller is yet to see the standout wrestler who may eventually be in discussions regarding a state title, but up and down the lineup, Keller may have its toughest set of 14 with dual and tournament wins to show for it.
After a resounding 44-22 dual win over Carroll on Thursday, Keller was boasting a 7-1 dual record. They also made a push in the finals of the Outback Invitational in Weatherford, to surpass the same Dragons team to steal away the team title.
Going into the finals at Weatherford, the Indians were 9.5 points behind Carroll. Keller won three titles – Drew Craghan at 106, Travis McDonald at 152 and Phil Young at 182 – to win the team trophy by two points. Keller also garnered a second place, two third place finishes and a fourth place.
“Top to bottom, this is one of the stronger teams we’ve had,” Keller head coach Jim Schee said. “We’ve had individuals at a higher level, but our depth is probably ... the most solid we’ve seen as a team.”
Keller has had two state champions in its 15-year history.
Also helping the Keller depth is junior Matthew Kearney at 138.
Schee said many of his wrestlers are now in just their second, third or fourth year of wrestling, but they are now beginning to understand the subtle nuances of the sport which turn matches into victories. “They believe in our system and what we’re trying to do and trusting us as coaches and knowing what we want to accomplish and they’re showing that on the mat,” Schee said.
McDonald is a wrestler who is putting the pieces together in a short time.
“He (McDonald) has very little varsity experience and has kind of turned it on for us,” Schee said of the junior. “He has incredibly strong hands and we weren’t necessarily expecting his strong showing,” Schee added.
Before the district meet in late January, the Indians still have plenty of tough competition, including a dual meet last weekend with Flower Mound, Byron Nelson, Frisco and Midlothian. They’ll also venture to the Grapevine Duals on Jan. 3-4, where some of the state’s toughest competition will wrestle after the holiday break. There will also be a district dual tournament Jan. 17 to aid in seedings for the district tournament. The top four placers at each weight at the district tournament will move on to the Region II tournament.
Last year, Keller took seven wrestlers to the regional.
Keller also has two girls still healthy and on the mat. Jirenia Saaveera, a 102-pounder and Brittany Olvera at 165, are among the six girls in the program, with the remaining four dealing with health and injury issues currently.
Now in his 10th year at Keller, Schee said the program has had ups and downs, but the program has grown overall.
“The goal is to build something,” Schee said. “When someone comes in after me, there will be a strong foundation and kids will know what they’re doing.”
The dual with Carroll was a tremendous success in other ways for Keller.
The event, tabbed as “Beauty and the Beast,” included performances by the Indianettes drill team intermingled with the matches. Through a strong attendance, sale of purple ‘Takedown Alzheimer’s’ shirts and a silent auction, the Keller booster club was able to present a check to the North Central Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in the amount of almost $8,500. The event was conceived by Schee to honor his father, Ray Schee, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s prior to his passing earlier in the year.