The Duncan Banner
Don’t look now, but basketball season isn’t the only sport on the horizon.
Soon the sounds of bodies slamming against the mat will be heard all throughout Stephens County.
Duncan, Comanche, and Marlow are gearing up for the 2012-13 season, with the Demons and Indians already making noise thanks to the pre-season top 10 rankings list.
In class 5A, DHS finds itself ranked in the No. 5 spot, with district rivals Lawton MacArthur ranked sixth, and Altus claiming the No. 1 spot.
Last season, the Bulldogs claimed the regional championship, with the Demons finishing fourth.
Comanche occupies the No. 5 spot in Class 2A with Perry sitting atop the classification.
“I don’t put much stock into the preseason rankings to be honest,” Duncan coach Kevin Kelly said. “All of the teams ranked are good teams, regardless of what they are ranked. Altus lost some kids, but it’s going to be dog fight with them like it always is. MacArthur is another solid team, and they’re always tough to contend with.”
Most of Duncan’s wrestlers were able to get their feet wet last weekend at the Southmoore Open tournament, which was an individual preseason tournament.
“We’ve been looking pretty good so far this season,” Kelly said. “This is an extremely athletic bunch and they look really good when they step out onto the mat. I have a feeling these guys can do some special things this season.”
Among the returners this season will be senior Christian Carnahan, who finished third at regionals last season and won two matches at the state competition.
“Christian will be wrestling at 152 this season,” Kelly said. “He’s got the ‘want to’ this season and you can see it when he steps on the mat. I’m expecting some great things from him this year.”
Other state qualifiers from last season looking for more in 2012-13 are seniors Cameron McGill (220 lbs.), and Markwae Sanders, who will be looking to regain his state crown after losing last season in the 106 pound finals.
“Markwae has matured a lot from last season,” Kelly said. “Cameron has beefed up a little and is going to be wrestling in a higher weight class this season. Both guys should do very well for us.”
Cody Merrill will also be featuring this season for the Demons, once he recovers from a foot injury sustained during football season.
Marcus Stewart, Jett Gray, Connor Kelly, Brandon Williams and Austin Drake will also be returning this season for Duncan.
Unlike last season though, the Demons are choosing to take their long road trip earlier in the year, to avoid congestion later in the season.
Next Thursday will see Kelly and his troops leave for Memphis, Tennessee where Duncan will be participating in an open tournament with 25 different schools from five states.
“We wanted to get the trip earlier this season because we were sluggish last year after going to Louisiana,” Kelly said. “It’s a top tournament and there are going to be some good teams there. Some of the teams we saw in Louisiana last year for the Deep South Bayou Duals are going to be there this time around as well.”
Duncan’s first home dual of the season will be on Dec. 13 against Comanche. Junior high wrestling will begin at 6 p.m. with varsity wrestling starting at 7 p.m.