The experience level of the Colleyville Heritage wrestling team may be building and the timing couldn’t happen any faster.
With the district tournament on the horizon the first weekend of February, the Panthers are looking to fine-tune their performances. The District 6-6A tournament will be held at Lewisville and the tournament competition will again be fierce.
Heritage has a handful of wrestlers who have been impressive thus far this season and the momentum will be needed against the likes of Coppell, Flower Mound, Marcus, Hebron and Lewisville.
“There have been bright spots and not-so-bright spots,” said head coach Waymon May.
The flashes of brilliance have come from newcomers as well as returning lettermen.
Iea Ennis, a first-year wrestling freshman at 126 has been performing well and whether he can continue to build upon his early success remains to be seen, but May likes his trajectory.
Also back for the Panthers is returning state qualifier Brian Whitetail. He has been one of the more consistent wrestlers and high hopes are riding with Whitetail.
Trevor Kleckner, 182, was a regional qualifier two years ago and is looking to return this season. Going into last weekend’s time off, Kleckner’s record was 17-3.
“He’s looking strong this year,” May said of Kleckner.
Another upper weight-class wrestler having success is 170-pounder Amadeo Nuncio, who was a state tournament alternate last season.
“We’re dealing with a lot of first- and second-year wrestlers,” May added.
Even with the youth of the squad, Heritage was able to place fifth at the tough Cy Fair Invitational recently.
“Every kid won a match,” May said of the trip to the Houston-area tournament. “We responded really well and we’ll take this week off,” he said. This weekend, Heritage will wrestle in the Damion Heard Memorial Duals at Fossil Ridge.
At the district tournament, the top four placers will advance to the regional meet at Allen.
“With four wrestlers coming out of the district meet, anything can happen,” May added. “But you’ve got to get out of district. If you can win one match, your chances are then high to place.”
Heritage is finally getting wrestlers all down to their respective weight classes and the secret to placing high as a team at the district meet is to arrive with a full squad of experienced wrestlers.
Hoping to be back from injury in time for the district meet is a regional and state qualifier from last year, Brianna Friend.
“I hope she can get back to her old form,” May said. “If she can get back there again, the second state appearance should be more comfortable for her. She’s calm but aggressive,” he added.
The focus is also on the future, as Heritage builds back the program strength experienced in recent years.
“We need to do our best to improve each year,” May said. “You’ve got to start somewhere, and we’re trying to improve.”
The Panthers have just two seniors this year and they’ll look to build on the experience level with each season.
The local youth program – the Grapevine Youth Wrestling program – has more than 10 kids already looking to add to the future success at Heritage. May also coaches a freestyle team, the Thundercats, in the offseason and summer.