KEARNEY — Kearney Catholic wrestling is making strides.
As the Stars prepare for their first invitational, coach Kenny Luther is looking to identify some of his latest talents this season.
Kearney Catholic had one state qualifier last year in Chris Feldner, who placed third. He has moved on but Luther expects to see some more state qualifiers this season.
“I don’t know how to explain this, but they have an idea in their heads, and they are kind of hungry because they like the sport,” Luther said.
The Stars return four seniors. Luther, a longtime KCHS assistant now the head coach, also mentioned season-ending injuries played a role last year, and he is excited to have a healthy group that could win matches.
“(They are) conditioning until they are stronger,” Luther said. “They have been in the weight room a lot. I know they weren’t on the mat last year, but they were up here watching and learning, where they could’ve just blown it off, you know, but they were up here learning because they want to do this.”
Jake Masker is one of the four seniors who could be a factor in his weight class for the Stars. The 250-pound lineman is coming off a successful football season.
“As a senior, he will get faster and stronger, and he’s going to wrestle a lot of underclassmen, and he’s huge,” Luther said.
Hunter Schiers, James Sucha and Kade Uelman also are part of the senior group.
Sam Luther, who has been a state qualifier in the past, enters his junior year, and the Stars added Hastings St. Cecilia transfer Clay Rasmussen to its roster.
“That gives me something to work with,” Luther said. “I can sit there and I can work with each kid and say, ‘OK, you can do this, but don’t do this.’
“It’s nice to go to a meet out of the gate and then we will evaluate this one. We just have a long season, so it’s just a start.”
The Stars will compete in their first invitational Saturday at Broken Bow.
“Central City is going to be really good,” Luther said. “They won (state) last year, and they are going to be loaded. They have two state champs back and a couple of state placers. Other than that, I think Wood River should be pretty good. We go to Broken Bow this weekend. Broken Bow is (Class) B, but they are pretty good.”