Leavenworth wrestling coach Jay Johnston was fast to admit a well-known secret Wednesday.
“We are slow starters,” the Pioneer coach said. “We don’t do a lot of live wrestling in practice because we work more on technique, but tonight we wrestled okay for the beginning of the year.”
That last part could be considered an understatement. On Wednesday, the Pioneers traveled to Shawnee Mission West where it started the new season on fire with a 52-18 victory.
“We have a lot of experience coming back and I think that experience helped,” Johnston said. “They know how we wrestle. They know our style and our expectations and so tonight they just went to work.”
Leavenworth began the dual by winning the first four weight classes due to opens by West.
The first match to actually take place was at 132 pounds, where Michael Harrington lost a close one 2-0.
At 138, Danial Wilson also came up just short when he lost 7-6. Mark Davis followed that up with a defeat at 145.
From then on, the Pioneers got hot. Freshman Nick Stranes won his first varsity match 13-3 at 152 while Tilden Edwards added a pin win at 160.
“I told Nick about mid-day today that he would be on varsity tonight, so for him to come out and perform like that was awesome,” Johnston said. “He is a really strong wrestler.”
Two open wins clinched the dual victory for Leavenworth, but Jesse Colver put the cherry on top with a pin win at 220.
“Our whole philosophy is to peak at the end of the year and so I’m fine with our slow starts, but this time around was a little different,” Johnston said. “Overall, from where we started last year compared to this year, we are miles ahead.”
Next up for the Pioneers is the Leavenworth Challenger Saturday, which starts at 9 a.m.