By Chuck Reherman
In what has become a budding rivalry on the mat, Yukon will take a short trek to the north to face Piedmont in the season opening dual for both teams.
The match us set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Piedmont High School gym (on Edmond Road).
The teams have faced each other in the past seven season and until the last two meetings, YHS has dominated the dual. Piedmont won last year’s dual 44-26 and also won the last time the teams faced each other in Piedmont, 49-36.
The Millers head into the dual having had only six practices since having to take a near two-week break during the latest Covid-19 spike that put Canadian County in the Red.
“This has developed into a good rivalry between the teams and we look to go up there and establish ourselves again on top,” Miller head coach Joe Schneider said. “We have lost the last two against them after we dominated some of the other duals. I don’t know what this one will be like, but we are hoping we can go up there and get a win.
“The practice time we have had in now way will really have us ready,” Schneider said. “That time out really didn’t help us, but we have gotten in six practices is good and it is better than none. We are making it work, have told the guys it is trying time and we will have to make it work.
Piedmont has also not had many workouts, but the Wildcats did compete in the Tuttle Open so the team will come in with some competition under their belt.
“We have our match made out for us,” Schneider said. “I don’t like that we have lost to them the past two years. I remember when I first got here we were blanking Piedmont and I want to get back to that way.
“We have a line-up that is a little rampant right now, we will make it work,” Schneider said. “Piedmont will be a tough challenge for us. They have a good coaching staff and their kids are wrestling hard. We just need to go wrestle and I hope our kids are ready for it. I know I am.
“We have been having some good workouts. It’s a matter of getting the right guys at the right weight. It has been a challenge, especially coming off of Thanksgiving, we had some that are battling with their weights. But, we will have five workouts in since Thanksgiving and that should help. We will make it work and do the best we can.”
The Millers will put some experience on the mat with three wrestlers back with state tournament experience plus four others with varsity experience.
YHS returns two-time state qualifier Connor Columbus at 195, state qualifier Lane Parks at heavyweight and Jonah Hanscom, who qualified at 126 last year.
Bryce Goucher also returns as does Jacob Mirkes, Shane Scott, Hunter Smith and Jackson Bodine.
“We have some good young kids that are in the room that are going to help us,” he said. “We have a lot of kids battling in the room for time on the mat, so our line-up can change at anytime And, that competition is going to make us a better team.
“We lost five or six seniors at the end of last year to so many different things,” he said.
“And, now we have this (Covid) on top of it, but, we like adversity and if we can overcome adversity, we can battle through it.
“We have had some ups and downs with certain guys, but it is the beginning of the year and I told them we are just happy to have some wrestling time right now.”
Thursday night’s dual will have a limited amount of fans that will be allowed in and tickets must be purchased on line. Go to the Yukon athletics home page and the line will be there to purchase tickets which will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. The gym will open one hour before the dual starts.
All spectators will have their temperature taken at the door and face coverings will be required. Piedmont High School officials also noted that masks must be worn during the match and those refusing to wear a mask will be asked to leave the facility.
Each team will be provided with two locker rooms and bleachers, benches, mats, point of entry will be sanitized regularly.
The Millers’ schedule has been updated with only four duals in the month of December. YHS was scheduled to compete in the Putnam City Tournament this weekend, but the tournament has been put on hold for now.
“As far as right now, we have four dual meets before Christmas and if we (Canadian County) can get into orange by Friday, we will get to go to the Perry Tournament,” Schneider said. “But, I don’t know if that is going to happen. If it doesn’t we will try to have a couple more duals on that Saturday.
“We are just trying to figure out how to get in the most matches we can get. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I know we got to practice today and we get to work out. We are taking one task at a time and one week at a time.”