CLINTON — They’ve seen enough of each other in the wrestling room, and coach J.D. Lueders has seen enough of his kids knocking heads against one another.
Tonight the Clinton High wrestling team opens its season for real, and Lueders can’t wait to see what transpires.
“They get tired of practicing,” Lueders said Wednesday night. “The kids are excited. We had a great practice tonight.”
The River Kings get things going with a 5 p.m. dual against East Moline United Township on the center mat at Yourd Gym. At the same time, North Scott will take on Moline on the mat near the stage while a third mat will feature junior varsity matches. The two Iowa teams then switch Illinois opponents for a second varsity dual for each.
“I think it’s a great way to start,” Lueders said. “I actually enjoy it. I think it will be an interesting dual for us. We see what we need to work on.”
The duals give Clinton a chance to wrestle big schools that they won’t see again, as well as scout North Scott ahead of a dual against the Lancers next week.
“They bring in some tough kids,” Lueders said Moline at UTHS. “It’s great competition for our kids early.”
Moline comes in ranked 12th in the Illinoismatmen.com Class 3A ratings and has a 5-1 record. The Maroons are led by senior 285-pounder Adarios Jones, who recently committed to wrestle in college for Northern Iowa. Jones placed third in the 3A state meet at 285 last season and is ranked No. 2 by Illinoismatmen.com.
United Township has one ranked wrestler, No. 10 Jeronnie Steward at 113.
The River Kings feature four returning state placewinners and another state qualifier. All five are ranked in the top 10 of their Class 3A weight divisions by thepredicament.com.