Flagstaff Eagles head coach Scott Neuburger is reaping the benefits of having a mixed bag of wrestlers this year as the program is looking to get back on the map.
The team is a diverse blend of seniors who have been with program, hungry freshmen and new faces that bring with them experience from their former teams. A group of assistant coaches also are lending their hands this season.
Despite the mix in the wrestling room, there is a strong sense of fellowship that Neuburger said is helping the team grow in the right direction more quickly.
“This team works unbelievably well together. We have much better cohesion," the second-year head coach said.
Having lots of depth is also bringing in-house competition to the room that should pay off as the season unfolds.
There is a strong group of seniors filling up roster in and around the middle-weight classes, surrounding some new and young wrestlers. Easten Skinner, the only Eagle in the Division III state tournament last season, fills in the 138-pound slot for his senior year, and fellow senior Spencer Johnson has been at 132 pounds. Meanwhile, senior Andre Ryan is competing at 145 pounds.
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“The seniors are really stepping up as far as being great mentors for the young guys who are coming in learning as much as they can," Neuburger said.
Last season, Skinner and Johnson posted solid records for the Eagles and both wrestled around 30 matches.
Sophomore Zach Collins brings depth to the middle-light weights, and transfer Gabriel Brown has been a solid addition to the team at 170 pounds coming in as a junior from Las Vegas. Listed at 182 pounds is another transfer in Oleksiy Deshekhonov-Evtimov. Ben Evtimov also joins the team this year and has wrestled at the higher weights.
The team lacks depth in some spots, especially heavyweight, but at the lowest weight classes a freshman has emerged as a young stud in Logan LoBue, who is currently at 4-1 after a good showing at the multi-meet at Coconino High School on Wednesday. A few other freshmen in Marshall Meier, Jack Stone, Will Colebank and Hunter Lewis have been providing numbers at the lower weights and mids as well.
With the Peaks Wrestling Invitational having been canceled due to snow this weekend, the next contest on the slate for Flagstaff is awaiting at Chino Valley High School on Wednesday and will also feature Bradshaw Mountain.