Varsity wrestling closes out the season, looks to youth for future success


Brad Anderson

In Brad Anderson’s 14 seasons as the head wrestling coach, this was one of the youngest teams he ever had. This year was a new era for the Forest Hills Central wrestling team, as it lost some key competitors from last year’s senior class.

“This was a season of learning and growth on many different levels,” Anderson said. “The record didn’t indicate it, but we had one of the best groups I’ve ever coached as far as work ethic, attentiveness, focus, loyalty, and discipline.”

The Rangers ended the season with 8 wins and 14 losses; however, the team did earn Academic All-State, and sophomore Caden Jacobs placed third at Districts as well as making an appearance at Regionals.

Many individuals stood out this season, and they put some extra work in to get where they are. Some that stood out were senior John Samsell with over 25 wins, sophomore Bryce Hysong, who is a newcomer from Utah who went on a ten-match winning streak and had a lot of pins, and Caden, who was sent to Regionals and had about 29 wins on the season.

“I think that this season was very fun,” Bryce said. “We were a very young team, and our win and loss record wasn’t too great. But in years to come, there will be improvement.”

As the seniors leave, the juniors have to take on the responsibility of having leadership roles for next year. The team and coaches are proud of the seniors this year for always putting up a fight and working their hardest.

“I always looked up to the seniors,” junior Tommy Hendricks said. “It [being senior next year] will be a good time, and you don’t have to be one of the best wrestlers to be a leader. We’ve got some really good wrestlers that can step up and be leaders within a couple of years. But it’ll be good to get more kids involved and make everyone feel like a part of the team.”

Anderson said that this year’s seniors worked very hard for the program.

“Our seniors strive valiantly,” Anderson said. “They are certainly the men in the arena; they are not those cold and timid souls that know neither victory nor defeat. I’m very, very proud of them and all of their efforts and everything they gave to this program. They will be missed.”

The current team is counting on some incoming freshmen and current underclassmen to take the program to new heights; that starts with putting in the hard work.

“Next year, I think that a lot of kids need to get more involved over the summer,” Tommy said. “That’s how it used to be; people would even stay longer at practice. That’s how the team gets better.”

Comradery is always important to a team, but especially this year because this was the first year that Forest Hills Central had a girls wrestling team. 

“The girls team was highly successful,” Anderson said. “Out of 105 teams in the state, we took third, which was amazing considering it is our first year. We had a state runner-up, the first girls state finalist in school history for the sport of wrestling. That was a smashing success.”

The togetherness started with the coaching and the lessons that Coach Anderson instilled in them. Without that, the team wouldn’t have been so close.

“This was my first year having [Coach Anderson] as a coach,” Bryce said. “I loved it. I think he is a great coach, and I think that he does a great job with team-building activities that he encourages us to do.”

Although the lack of experience and the young team largely impacted the success of the season this year, the Rangers are ready to put in the work for next year and come back ready to go.

“Our guys were a very young team,” Anderson said. “We have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years. We have some good upcoming classes. We just need to improve our wrestling skills before next season in order to have a better record on paper.”