Wrestlers open season with challenging week

Connor Columbus uses the leg of Carter Erickson to take him down during the 195-pound match in the recent Red-White Dual. Columbus will wrestled at 195 or 220 as the Millers take on Piedmont and Mustang in duals on back-to-back nights Thursday and Friday. (Photo by Chuck Reherman)

By Chuck Reherman
Sports Editor
A challenging first week.
That;s what Yukon will be facing as the Millers open the wrestling season with three matches in four days.
The Millers open the season tonight hosting Putnam City West in a 7 p.m. match at the YHS gym. The Millers will also host Piedmont on Thursday and the annual Bedlam on the Mat on Friday with Mustang. Both duals will start at 7 p.m.
YHS will be looking to payback the Wildcats and the Broncos, who both handed the Millers losses last year.
But, both will be challenges or the Millers. Piedmont, despite its football team reaching the class 5A state semifinals this past week, will bring in a talented team. And, the Broncos will be loaded again, despite losing some key members from last year.
“It’s a great way to start off our season,” Miller head coach Joe Schneider said. “They will both be tough challenges, but that is what we like. We want to be tested early to see what we are made of and what we need to work on and correct as we move on into the season.
“We are still working on our line-up and have some guys that have not been in the wrestling room very long that we feel are going to help us,” he said. “We have a group of guys back that will give us experience on the mat early and will help as we get going into the season.”
Schneider does have a trio of state qualifiers returning in Cooper Mahaffey, Connor Columbus and Corbin Gordon to build around, along with Steven Cook, Wallace Tilley, Jacob Mirkes and a group of young wrestlers to build around.
The Millers finished the pre-season open tournaments by competing in the John Hendricks Invitational Pre-Turkey Tournament at Edmond Memorial High School.
Yukon had five wrestlers place in the high school division and four more in the junior high division and several others that just missed reaching the medal rounds.
“This was a good tournament to springboard us into the season,” Schneider said. “It was a tough tournament, there were some good teams there as well are individuals in the brackets. We had several that were a round away from placing and wrestled very tough.
“We are still a work in progress,” Schneider said. “The tournament helped give us some more mat experience and we wrestled well overall. We just need to continue to work hard in the room.”
Mahaffey at 120-pounds and Lane Parks at heavyweight both placed second. Gordon, Zach Stillwell and Shane Scott placed third.
In the junior high division, Bryce Goucher and Cade Eichor both placed second. Jackson Bodine placed third and Hunter Smith fourth.
Schneider said Nick Shannon won four matches and wrestled well but was one round away from placing. Joseph Vallejo, Brayden Brock, Sax Schulte, Columbus and Keeton Oppelt all won three matches.