by Mark Cheffey
With all who are expected to go out along with some health, this year’s PHS boys wrestling team could be as competitive as ever.
Coach Josh Buatte has had to wait in the wings, while as many as 10 wrestlers continue competing in football, but when they do enter the PHS wrestling room, the competition level is expected to be high.
“If everyone stays healthy, this year’s team could be a team that could compete with any team,” said Buatte who should be well stocked with seniors and other upper classmen with considerable experience on the mat.
“We have all but one of our state qualifiers back which is huge,” Buatte said. “Obviously everyone knows what the Arch boys are capable of, but Weston King, Brayden Stevens, Kaden Crane, Luke Tripplet, Hayes Miller and others will make a huge impact in the room and with match and tournament experience.”
Buatte said he would love to have a full roster practicing right now, but is enjoying watching them compete on the field.
“I would really love it if we could have a football championship and a wrestling championship,” he said.
Buatte also has some newcomers, both boys and girls, to the program, including those with experience gained in the community’s youth program.
“Getting new kids in the room is always exciting. It makes me excited for the future of the program,” Buatte said.
When all are together, Buatte said he should have 18 boys, plus or minus, and about nine girls.
“We have lost a few key girls wrestlers, but we have gained some who will make an impact,” Buatte said. “Just like last year, the girls who are in the room jumped right out and work extremely hard.
“I’m looking forward to seeing where they end up this year and the future of girls wrestling in Palmyra.
“I think we could have great boys and girls wrestling here in Palmyra.”
As with everything, the COVID-19 pandemic has had its affect on the wrestling off season and the season itself.
“We were not able to do nearly as much as planned in the off season as normal,” Buatte said. “We did have some conditioning work and very little drill time, but we did not have any camps or anything like that, that we normally have in the summer.
“We just concentrated more on keeping everyone healthy.”
And the efforts to stay healthy continued during pre-season practice in the PHS wrestling room.
“The room works quite a bit different this year compared to years past,” Buatte said. “As the kids come in the room, they have their temperature taken, and put on hand sanitizer.
“The kids are also in pods or groups of four who they will work with throughout the year. This way they are in contact with as few other wrestlers as possible.
“We have always done our best to keep the room clean, but this year we make sure everything is extra clean and sanitized.”
The pandemic will also have its affect on the schedule, which will probably never be set in stone.
“As far as events go this year, I think it could be an ever changing schedule,” Buatte said. “Things have changed for me almost every week, so every event this year will be a star event because it’s an opportunity to get on the mat and compete.
Helping Buatte with the team this year are Tyler Krietemeyer, Travis Arch, Andrew Wood and Joe Buatte.
“Everyone helping in the room is an asset and helps to make this team great, Buatte said.”I’m really looking forward to this year even though it will be a very different year. I think we have a very good team this year that could compete with any other team out there.”
12/7 – Palmyra hosts Macon and Missouri Military
12/14 – Fatima Quad
12/18-19 – The Battle of the Katy Trail Tournament
12/21 – Trenton Triangular