Clinton head wrestling coach Dustin Caldwell is back for the River Kings, and he’s looking to a couple of his wrestlers to step things up this year on the mat.

He’s especially looking at a few who were on the brink of breakthroughs last year.

The River Kings are coming into the 2021 season without any state-ranked wrestlers.

Caldwell has a few in mind that he thinks can possibly punch a ticket to Des Moines when March postseason rolls around.

Top on his list is returner Brooke Peters.

“[He] led the team in wins last year and was a match away from getting to the state meet,” Caldwell said. “Had a good offseason and looking forward to seeing his growth.”

Caldwell thinks Ty Jergerson is showing some promise in that area, too. He thinks that some extra training in regards to the wrestling season may change the look of his season.

“Got a lot stronger and had a tough season but has been really involved wrestling this offseason,” Caldwell said. “Looking forward to seeing his progress.”

The same goes for Luke Jennings. Jennings just ended his cross country season but he’s worked on putting on some pounds as well.

“[He] jumped up a few weights and has looked tough in practice,” Caldwell said. “Has a great attitude and lead by example mentality.”

Although they don’t necessarily have that state experience yet, they’re got varsity opponents in their past. He’s hoping that the upperclassmen are able to string together more wins.

“We have a good group of juniors mixed in with a few seniors to have an experienced lineup,” Caldwell said. “Our numbers are up a bit this year so getting more workout partners will really help in practice. A lot of our guys have been in big matches before and now we are looking to take the next step.”

Like every year, there’s also an influx of newbies. Caldwell says that the numbers have gone up in the wrestling program, which is always an ongoing goal. That also brings along some learning curves.

“With our experience we also have a lot of new faces,” Caldwell said. “Getting them up to speed will be a challenge but we will lean on our upperclassmen to help.”

The big goal for Coach Caldwell this year is a new start. He wants tp refocus the energy and help change the direction.

“We are going into this season with a clean slate,” Caldwell said. “New season, new team and we are going to give our best every time out.”

To do that, he wants his athletes to focus in part on how the team is performing rather than just how the individual records stack up at the end of the year. He wants them to watch those team scores and hone in on how they can contribute to that success from meet to meet.

He hopes that translates into team and individual success, especially when it comes time for the state meet.

“We are looking to compete as a team and not just individuals,” Caldwell said. “Coming together and for a greater cause, Also looking forward to getting back out to Wells Fargo.

“[Looking forward to] seeing our kids go out and compete every week. We are excited to see the new faces in the line up and seeing the growth from the upperclassmen.”

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