District favorite readies for battle

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The Vandegrift wrestling team is the prohibitive district favorite and are already up to No. 3 in the state poll.

In dual meets so far this season, the Vipers are 9-0. And with their win at the Georgetown Throwdown on Saturday, including a 39-25 win over hosts Georgetown in the finals, they’ve won both tournaments they’ve competed in. 

“It’s a goal to win the district,” Vandegrift head coach Paul Muck said. “We don’t talk about it like we’ve won it already. It puts a target on our back and we understand that teams are going to get up to wrestle us.”

They outscored their opponents 256-93 this weekend. And the Vipers beat No. 4 Rouse at Timber Ridge at the Capital City Classic to kick off the season. 

Riley Jacobs, who is ranked No. 2 at 152 pounds right now and was state runner-up at 138 last season won his weight class at the Capital City Classic as did Aaron Peterson. Michael Ford and Luke Sloan finished second, James Clarkson came in third and Logan Lee and Dawson Taylor finished fourth in their respective weight classes. 

Muck said the team’s goals for the season are to be the district champions and regional champions as a team. Being that it’s the Vipers’ first year in 6A, he’s unsure what the realistic goal is at the state level. 

Individually, there are six returning wrestlers who made the state tournament last season. All of them have aspirations to win the state title while other team members would be happy to make it to the state tournament. 

“I couldn’t ask for a better start to the season,” Muck said. “It’s a great group of kids to work with. We’ve got a lot of leadership and a lot of young kids as well. They get along well and work hard in the room. It’s one of those years you look forward to.”

Next up for the Vipers is the Hill Country Invitational, which will include Glenn, Leander, Rouse, Cedar Park and Vista Ridge at Vista Ridge on Dec. 17. 

The Lions are also off to a good start this season. They finished third at the Capital Classic, a big improvement from head coach Adam McLain’s first year in charge last year. They then had a tri-meet against Austin McNeil and Shoemaker last weekend and finished that 2-0. 

“Last year being my first year at the school, we made a big step in the right direction,” McLain said. “We qualified five kids for state and only one of them graduated. Add that with a few other returning kids and we’ve got a chance to make some noise.”

John Geiger, Ricky Smith, Lance Reed, Tyler Young and Zeke Garcia all qualified for state last year for Leander. Young is the only graduate from that group. 

At the Georgetown Throwdown, the Lions went through pool play undefeated and lost to Georgetown in the semifinals. They beat Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial to finish in third. 

“My goals are always team oriented,” McLaine said. “I’m going to have kids come and go that are successful at the state level. I want to compete for a district championship. We’re going to get our kids ready and see what happens.”

Despite being a new school, it wasn’t really that hard for Brandon Krauskopf to put together a team in his first year in charge at Glenn. This season, 47 boys and eight girls came out to join the Grizzlies team. 

“It’s the second time I got to do this,” Krauskopf said. “I started a program at Atascocita. The interest here is a lot more because the kids from Central Texas are used to wrestling and know it.” 

Unlike the other LISD schools, the Georgetown Throwdown was Glenn’s first action of the season. With all the new kids, Krauskopf said he wanted to give a full month for the wrestlers to train and let the kids coming from the football team heal up before throwing them in the fire. 

“My expectations are to compete like we’ve been doing,” Krauskopf said. “I have a lot of kids that have never done this. By the time district rolls around, I want them to be comfortable to do regional qualifiers because that’s been my plan all along.”

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