Custer wrestlers fewer but tough

Ron Burtz
As the Custer High School wrestling team prepares for its first matches at the Custer Invitational Tournament this week, coach Jared Webster says he is working with a smaller but still tough team this season. 
Webster says only 16 to 17 wrestlers are practicing on the high school squad but adds “everyone we have in is just a solid wrestler...very tough. Every one of them is just a heck of an athlete and very well-rounded.”
The coach says everyone on the team “has experience and can place.”
“We’re looking forward to seeing what can happen this week with them,” said Webster. “We’re really excited about that.”
Webster says he lost a couple of wrestlers due to family moves this year but adds, “We’ve got a lot of kids who are stepping into those spots who are just as tough.”
Last season the team had a large group of wrestlers in the 106-113-pound weight classes. Webster said this year most of the team will be in the 132 to 138-pound range.
There are three returning seniors on the squad, including Irail Griffin, Micaiah Grace and Brennen Hanes.
“All three of them are just very solid kids,” said Webster, noting that he expects the trio to provide leadership to the underclassmen. “We’re expecting big things out of those three. It’s time for them to show the state what they can do.”
Just two freshmen are joining the varsity team this year—Jonathan Lewis and Weston Woodward. 
“Those kids can make some noise too,” said Webster. “They’re very talented.”
Webster says the dissolution of the wrestling co-op with Edgemont has so far had minimal impact on the team’s strength. He says Hanes transferred to Custer and Cade Grill moved to New Underwood, so wouldn’t have been on the team anyway. 
While a practice co-op was formed with the Elk Mountain School District in western Custer County, Webster says none of those wrestlers have begun practicing with his team yet. If there are wrestlers from Elk Mountain, they will wrestle under their own school’s banner. 
The Wildcats ended their last season taking fifth at state with seven wrestlers placing.  
The Custer wrestlers will be at home for their first two competitions of the season. The Custer Invitational is this Friday and Saturday. Then next Thursday, Dec. 12, is the Custer Quad in which they will face Newcastle, Newell and Bennett County. Both events will be held at the Armory.

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