Leavenworth wrestlers working hard during offseason

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Leavenworth senior wrestler Julian Long competing during the 2020-2021 season. Long has made it to the state tournament in each of the last two seasons and will be looking for his first state medal this season.

Leavenworth's wrestling program has been busy during the offseason after taking three wrestlers between its boy's and girl's programs to the state tournament in February. 

The Pioneers had one wrestler earn a medal as junior Hannah Jackson took second-place at the girl's tournament. Since the season ended, the Pioneers haven't slowed down as they have competed in tournaments and camps across the region. 

"We as a team have been wrestling a lot more this summer," head coach Matt Long said. "To get all my kids more exposure and mat time to give them all better chances of medalling in the high school season."

Leavenworth lost one of its state qualifiers from 2021 to graduation in Tristan Mercado but return Julian Long, who has two state appearances under his belt will be looking for his first medal in his senior season.  

David Drake, Joshua Kozminksi, Alexander Finn and Shy'ron McMurray all return to the men's team with postseason wrestling experience as well. 

"I have a good group of seniors this year," Long said. "We're all trying to get to get more experienced to we can compete for state medals. I feel like I have a really good group of kids and if they dedicate themselves, we could get four or five medalists this season if we commit ourselves 100%."

Long said the program currently has six wrestlers on the girl's side and is looking to welcome new members for the upcoming season.

"If there are any girls that are interested in girl's wrestling," he said, "we have an open room Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for anyone to come up and wrestle."

Despite having small numbers, Long said he is confident the girl's team will surprise people with five of the six competitors being returners to the program. 

The key to success will be getting more girls involved and Long knows it's just a matter of time with the women's side of wrestling growing at a rapid pace. 

Shown are members of the Leavenworth wrestling program.

"We haven't had quite the turnout that Washburn Rural had with like 30 girls," Long said. "I know there are some stud athletes in our area but they're not fully committed to the wrestling part of it."