Maggitt, Verdia Lead Deep Group for MRH Wrestling
With a larger team than he's had for a while, MRH wrestling coach Chris Meyer is encouraged by a returning core and some new faces on the mat.
Maplewood Richmond Heights wrestling coach Chris Meyer says the team is larger than it has been for a long time. Factoring in the team's leadership from two returning wrestlers in particular, Meyer senses an abundance of motivation for MRH.
"(Sophomore) Montell Maggitt and (junior) David Verdia did a lot of work," Meyer said. "They did summer freestyle and Greco-Roman and committed a lot of time to it, and lifted and trained pretty much all year for this season."
The offseason work put in by Maggit and David Verdia has them as the clear team leaders. They're among six returners on the team, which also includes sophomore Jonas Tiggs and senior Eduardo Verdia, who both qualified for state last year, junior Josh Pinson and sophomore George Tatum.
Meyer, in his 14th year, said this season got off to a slow start with the MRH football season going so long (they made the state championship game). As a result, he's not sure what to expect from his squad in the early season. He said they get tired and sore from the long football season.
"It's hard to go from the top, and then go to wrestling where you may not be on top," Meyer said, "especially if it's new to you and your first year."
Meyer coaches soccer, too, and several of those players followed him from the pitch to the mat. Both Verdias, Pinson, Tatum, and freshman Zach Arias made that transition. Junior Dave Kunce, who was a standout goal keeper, has said he'll also wrestle.
Though wrestlers move through weight classes, usually going down during the season, Meyer has taken a stab at who will be at the different weights for MRH.
Tiggs, who went to state last year at 103 and had two wins in Columbia before going out with two losses, is now at 112. Maggitt is at 119. Meyers said he has lots of guys around the 135-to-140 range. Pinson is weighing in around 135 or 140. Arias and Tatum are each also around 140.
Eduardo Verdia is at 160. Sophomore and first-year wrestler Lavon Clark could be at 189. Lavon's brother, Orlen, who is a junior and played football, is listed at 220. Meyer said that Kunce, a first-time wrestler, would be a heavyweight.
"We have a few open spots," Meyer said, "but have more guys than we've had for a long time, so that's good."
Meyer has each of his wrestlers fill out a goal sheet, covering physical, mental, long-term, short-term, career and high school goals, strength and conditioning, technique, strategies–and potential barriers they might encounter. "It's pretty thorough," he said.
"I think it keeps them motivated as they fill all that out," Meyer said. "It gives them something to focus on besides winning and losing."
The MRH wrestling season begins with its first of only four home meets. University City and Trinity will be on the home mat on Wednesday, December 1.
There are nine dual meets and six tournaments in the MRH season, followed by districts on the second Friday and Saturday of February. Whitfield usually wins the Class 1, District 1 meet as its host. Whitfield took fifth, as a team, last year at state. Brentwood, which looks to be strong this year, will also be at the district meet.