BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR – The FMHS wrestling team will take to the mat again this week starting tomorrow with a three-team primer before 11 teams roll into town for Saturday’s Fort Madison Invitational.
Head coach Ryan Smith said Thursday’s meet in Mt. Pleasant will be a good test for the Hounds prior to Saturday and will have implications on the team’s state aspirations.
Mount Pleasant is a conference opponent and a district opponent and we’ll have to see them to get to state,” Smith said. “It will be an important test for our guys. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to go.”
The Hounds have had trouble filling a full lineup be it due to smaller tournaments, illnesses or other factors, but he said Mt. Pleasant has been plagued by some of the same issues.
“They haven’t been able to put up a full line up and we’re not quite a full lineup either.”
He said West Hancock, the third team in the three-team meet, has had challenges as well.
“West Hancock typically doesn’t have a full lineup either, so we’re not really sure what to expect there, but they usually have really good individual performers on that team,” he said.
After Thursday’s meet, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant High School, the team will play host to 11 teams as part of the Fort Madison Invitational on Saturday, which begins at 10 a.m.
“This is a lot of teams and it will be a fun day weather permitting,” he said. Smith said the weather forecast is calling for 50 to 60% chance for freezing precipitation which could potentially jeopardize the event.
“I’m worried a little about the ice they’re calling for Friday. Crossing my fingers that we don’t get that, but they say there’s a 50 to 60% chance. I’m hoping we’ll avoid any significant amount.” he said.
Several of the teams coming included Council Bluffs,, Burlington, Clinton, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and a new team from Hallsville Missouri, just to name a few. Smith said Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Clinton will probably be the teams to beat on Saturday as well as Council Bluffs.
“This will be another good test for us, hopefully we’ll have a full bracket for kids to get plenty of matches,” Smith said.
Coming off last weekend’s trip to Mediapolis, Smith said the team looks pretty healthy and ready to wrestle. Alex Lauber who appeared to have hurt his shoulder in his last match of the day at 220lbs Saturday should be good to go.
“I think he’s ok shoulder wise, but he’s been ill this week so we’ll see.”
Two state wrestling publications have listed Harlan Steffensmeier as No.3 in the state at 138lbs and “The Predicament” also has Ryan Steffensmeier rated 10th in the state at 106.
Harlan Steffensmeier is coming off a strong showing in Mediapolis where he pinned all four of his opponents, in less than a minute and the other at just over a minute.