Iola High wrestling team kicks off season

Junior Andrew Garber takes leadership role on small squad that’s pumped up

By John Geiler, Staff Writer

The Iola High School wrestling team may be small, but these athletes don’t lack confidence.

Their season kicked off Dec. 6 at the Caney Invitational, where junior Andrew Garber ended the day in fifth place in the 182-pound division. He went 3-1 for the day.

“I was nervous at first,” Garber said, “but it got better being there for a while.”

Sophomore Tavon Blazek went 2-2 at Caney, and he even had to face teammate Garber in his final match of the day.

The tournament was a good start for the team, but still nerve-wracking at times.

“I was very nervous at first,” Blazek said, “because I was the only one on junior varsity, and then it got better.”

Coach Jason Baits has high hopes for the squad.

“I feel good about this year,” he said. “Five wrestlers may be all that I have, but they all work hard and are eager to learn. It’s going to be a fun and exciting year.”
All of the wrestlers were pumped for the season to begin, especially Garber. Having been on the high school team since his freshman year, he is the most experienced on the team.

“Preparing for the wrestling season is very hard. You have to stay strong and eat healthy,” he said during preseason workouts in November.

He prepared for the season by working to make it down to the 182-pound bracket by staying on a steady diet and working out.

He said the hardest thing for him is not only being the oldest on the team, but also having the responsibility of being a good role model for the others on the team, which he considers to be like family.

“All you can do is your best,” he said. “Don’t give up on yourself or your team.”