LINDSBORG—It will be a core group of seniors that will counted on for leadership in the 2018-19 season for the Smoky Valley High School wrestling team.

Seniors Chase Pywell (wrestling at 145), Cort Elliot (182), Jon Burks (195) and Ethan Wampler (285) will be looked at to help lead the Viking grapplers this season as they look to improve on their fourth-place finish in the Central Kansas League and a tenth-place finish at state regionals. Wampler has the best 2017-18 season record of all the returnees as he finished 35-8 for the season.

The Vikings do return two wrestlers with solid state experience as Elliot placed third at state last season and now junior Dax Hopp finished second at 160 while closing out his sophomore season with a solid 31-12 record. Other returning letterman include sophomores Braunson Golden (106) and Brandon Malm (220), plus Devon VanFosson (113).

“We return a good group of seniors,” noted Head Coach Ben Elliott as he reflected on what lies ahead for his 14th season leading the Vikings. “We will rely heavily on their leadership. We are looking to reload and fill several weight classes. Our main goal will be to compete hard and get better every week. We do return two state qualifiers, so another big goal is to get some more kids to state.”

The Viking wrestlers will get busy early as they have three meets in the first week of the season, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 1, when they take to the road at Riley County. Smoky Valley will follow that up on Thursday, Dec.6, when they host a triangular with McPherson and Chapman before finishing out the first week of competition with a trip to Clay Center on Saturday, Dec. 8.

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