With the end of the regular season approaching for Maryville wrestling, the team has all of their attention pointed at the upcoming district tournament.
With the season winding down, there is a reason for excitement among the Spoofhounds. Coach Kody Koster believes things will be different for the ‘Hounds this time around.
“The expectations we have as a team are to send around five or six athletes to state,” Koster said. “If we are able to get more, then we will exceed the expectations we set for ourselves as a team.”
In just his second year under the helm of Maryville wrestling, Koster strives for constant improvement from himself and his athletes. It is easy to see the passion Koster can bring to the sport and the atmosphere around him.
With a somewhat unsuccessful first season under Koster, the program appears to have rebounded from the finish last season. Koster emphasized the importance of improving with each repetition.
“Every time you step on the mat, whether that is in practice, a duel, or even state, you need to find a way to better yourself out there,” Koster said. “Wrestling is a sport where you need to constantly evolve your game for all the different looks that can be thrown at you on the mat.”
Koster went on to explain why constant growth is the best way to expand a wrestler’s moves and techniques.
“Wrestling is unique because the looks you get on the mat can be different every time. So the more you have wrestled, the easier it will be to adapt on the fly in a match,” Koster said. “One thing that we preach to our athletes is to find a way to make yourself better every day.”
With Koster gaining more experience, the feeling around the program appears optimistic toward the future. The program has seen many changes over recent years. Koster looks to change the perception of the team by bringing consistency to the group.
One thing that has not plagued the team this year is leaving any weight classes open going into tournaments or matches, which is something the team struggled with in Koster’s first year.
Sophomore Connor Weiss has had his eyes set on districts all season. Weiss was a state qualifier as a freshman last season.
“I’ve been waiting for districts to get another shot at state,” Weiss said. “Ultimately, I would like to get to state and place sixth or higher.”
Weiss hopes to return to state as he did last year, but this time around there is hope that more will follow suit and qualify for state. As the only returning state qualifier for Maryville, Weiss has taken on a new leadership role this year. Weiss wants to change the way the program is perceived.
The future of the Spoofhound wrestling program could very well be appearing now. Koster does realize that talk is talk, and it will not mean anything if they cannot reach goals as a team.
The girls will compete in the MSHSAA Class 1 District 4 Tournament Feb. 1 at Smithville High School. The boys will travel to the MSHSAA Class 2 District 4 Tournament Feb. 8 and 9 at Excelsior Springs High School.