Local Sports, Sports, University

UHS wrestling program gearing up for 2022-23 season

MORGANTOWN – It’s all but obvious that head coach Ken Maisel and the University High School wrestling team have established a winning mentality over the years of building the program.

A year ago, eight UHS wrestlers earned a spot in the state tournament and five of those that went will return to the mat this season. This includes two state champions in junior Luca Felix in the 145 lb. weight class, and sophomore Brock Kehler at 195 lbs. who won as a freshman.

Although Maisel has seen his wrestlers be successful year in and year out, he knows that every season is different and this year, he sees a deeper UHS team.

“This year we’ve got a few weights that are really good and some that anyone could really get beat for,” he said on Tuesday. “Last year for example, we were strong at nearly every weight. It’s something that we’ve discussed recently with our state guys from last year and we know that it may take more than four or five of us at states to win the team championship and reach those goals that we have. That could be anything for simply winning a match at states or just keeping someone from another school getting points to their team, whatever it is that can help the team.”

Senior Dom Parker, who recently signed to wrestle for WVU, missed a majority of last season due to an injury, but still managed to finish third in the state at the 152 lb. weight class. He finished the shortened season with an overall record of 15-2.

Entering his fourth year on the team, Parker has embraced the leadership role and says identifying the younger wrestlers on the team and helping them is important early on in the season.

“I see a lot of young kids out here who just want to get better,” he said. “Some have been working all summer, going to tournaments and camps and stuff. I think for us to succeed this season is for us to stay consistent, that’s a huge key in wrestling.”

Off of the mat, the Hawks also have something special building in their “Big Brother” system among the team. Maisel says the older members of the team will be responsible for a few of the younger wrestlers and will help them with things outside of wrestling. Anything from checking on grades and attendance to helping with homework, etc.

“(Maisel) always says no one ever asks to be a role model,” Parker said about the leadership role he has inherited. “Sometimes you’re even forced into a spot to where you’re in that moment to make an impact on someone or for your team and you just have to perform.”

Like Parker, another wrestler who will look to have a big season is sophomore Brock Kehler, who captured the state championship in the 195 lb. weight class. In fact, he only lost one match all season, finishing with a record of 35-1.

“I’d like to go undefeated this year,” Kehler said definitively. “I want to win states and go undefeated. I had that loss last year but this year I want to try and widen my matches as far as points go. I had a lot of 2-0, 4-0 matches and I’d like to try and make the gap a bit larger for myself early on.”

The Hawks will host their annual Red-Black match on Friday night at UHS. The match is an intrasquad scrimmage that splits the UHS wrestlers into two teams competing against each other. The match will begin at 6:00 p.m.

TWEET – @dompostsports @ahhh_griff