When the Maryville wrestling team takes the mat for Class 2 District 4 Tournament Feb. 14 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, it will be without one of its standout athletes.
For the first time in two years, the ’Hounds will have an absence left by junior Connor Weiss.
Weiss, who qualified for state in his first two years of high school, will be out due to a shoulder injury he sustained during a tri-duel Jan. 28 against Benton and St. Pius. It’s an injury that puts Weiss out for the rest of the season.
“To be honest, I can’t really put it into words very well,” Weiss said. “I really wish I could be participating with all my brothers this weekend and at the state tournament.”
The ’Hounds have struggled to find collective success this season. Maryville has shown glimpses of its potential. The team is composed of seemingly promising talent at times but drops many duels because of the lack of participation among the program. The open slots throughout meets give free points to opposing teams.
Without having one of its top wrestlers on the mat for districts, the team will have to find production elsewhere if it wants to advance to the state finals as a team
The MSHSAA wrestling State Championships will take place Feb. 20-22 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Weiss not being able to go to state with his team this year has been a hard pill for him to swallow.
“All the time I put in and to be able to not compete for districts or state tournaments, this year doesn't feel too great,” Weiss said. “But I got next year.”
Weiss, of course will be returning for one more year with hopes to bring back a state championship to the program.
Earlier in the year, his goals were to go undefeated, be a state champion and try to bring back a state title to Maryville. With his shoulder injury, those dreams have become nightmares.
“I really wish that I wasn't injured so I could still try to accomplish that goal,” Weiss said. “It is what it is, and all I can do from here on out is help my teammates improve.”
Despite being out of physically competing, Weiss has continued to have a positive impact on the team. He has continued to inspire the team while not on the mat by coaching his teammates and helping them get to where they need to be.
“In this time of adversity for Connor, I have realized what kind of leader he truly is,” junior Keiren Watkins said.
With the possibility that Weiss could have a severe shoulder injury, he doesn't let that stop him and has risked further injury to make sure his teammates are battle-ready for the district tournament
“Despite his injury, he shows up for all of our practices and open mats to encourage us to wrestle our best this week,” Watkins said.
The extent of Weiss’s injury hasn’t been diagnosed yet. The notable part, for the Spoofhounds, is the extent is enough to keep him off of the mat until next season.