By Hayden Tucker, staff writer
Over the weekend, Yukon wrestling traveled to Edmond North for the Colton Schneider Memorial Open.
This was the first time in the new season the Millers were able to see competition.
“It was very good to get out of the practice room and get to see live competition from somebody else,” coach Joe Schneider said. “The guys are kind of beating each other up. Sometimes it’s different when it’s somebody wearing a different singlet or a different t-shirt.”
The intensity from the Yukon wrestlers was present from the onset.
“We were competitive,” Schneider said. “I think we had a lot of fight in some situations. As always, there’s room to improve. I was impressed with the way our four guys at the high school level wrestled.”
Cooper Mahaffey (106) and Ashton Aldridge (heavy weight) took first place in their respective divisions. Wallace Tilley took second place at 138 pounds. Jace Martin had the lowest finish of any Miller at fourth place in the 170-pound division.
These strong results came even though some were fighting through mild illnesses.
“We did have some good fight in there,” Schneider said. “We had some overcoming adversity and some guys showing up with a little sickness that’s going around. They’re battling through that adversity, that’s a big thing.
“If they’re learning to do that early, it’s great.”
As the Millers roll through preseason tournaments their emphasis won’t be on improving their strengths, rather, testing out their weaknesses.
“One of our big talks is, we want the guys to fail at something,” said Schneider. “I want them to try something new, try to get themselves in a different position, something they’re not used to, somewhere they need to actually work on it and try and see how they can be productive in that situation. If they fail at it, then great. I hope they learn from it.”
Though he wants them to fail at new things, Schneider says he wants his wrestlers to compete while doing so.
“At the same time, I want them to go out with intensity and make sure who they’re wrestling knows they’re wrestling a Yukon guy,” he said. “They’re going to fight to the very finish. They’re not going to give up and roll over, they’re going to learn to fight through that and they’re going to battle through those tough situations.”
Up next for the Millers is the Yukon Open.
The tournament hosted at YHS will feature three divisions with 11 mats. Each year draws hundreds from not only the metro, but places such as Perry and Allen, Texas.
In 2015 Yukon saw a staggering 821 participants, the year after was 761. Last year had more than 700 as well. A new girls division could draw participants.
The Millers will look to take their next challenge head on with new blood in the program.
“It’s good to see different people outside the room,” Schneider said. “I’m excited because this week we’re starting to get some freshmen. I think we gained 16 or 17 freshmen today who just turned in all their football gear and are ready to start getting on the mat.
“It’s going to be great for years to come.”
The Yukon Open will be Saturday at Yukon High School.