Malta Mustang Wrestling 2019-20
Mustangs welcome new coaching staff
December 11, 2019
The Malta Wrestling Team is under the watching eye of newly hired coach Steve French, who led Malta into a wrestling event for the first time since 1995.
Coach French described what his first weekend as a Mustang Coach in over 20 years was like in Havre last Friday and Saturday.
"It went about how I expected," Coach French said. "I knew that our technique wasn't going to be smooth. But for the most part, I enjoyed the effort from the kids, and I was pretty happy with it."
Coach French knows that the team has a lot to work on, but he isn't alone. This year, he will be coaching alongside assistant coach Cody Mikesell, who has coached Malta wrestling over the past three seasons, and his son Jake French. Managers are seniors Rya Soul and Georgia Orahood, junior Laura Doney, and freshman Madyson Bain.
Though the coach believes the coaching change has been going good, he knows that things will get better with time.
"We are getting better and the transition is getting smoother as we go, but it is going to be a process," Coach French said.
Malta lost a couple of talented grapplers to graduation last season including Kolter Schipman, who took third place in the 132-pound bracket at the State B-C Tournament and Andres Lopez, who took third place in the 182-pound bracket.
The team is without Oren Mackey this season. Mackey was a state performer for Malta last season.
Malta did welcome back senior Callan Mears, who is a two-time Northern B-C Champion. Mears also took fifth in the 145-pound class last year at state. Mears will be wrestling at 160 this season.
A new edition to the wrestling team is senior Kendall Moore, who had played basketball in previous years. Moore will likely see time at 160.
The team welcomes back two in the junior class including RC Skiff and Colt French who are state performers. Skiff will be wrestling at either 138 or 145, while French will wrestle at 170.
The sophomore class consists of Shane Soul, Zac Judd, and Cash Salsbery. Salsbery will wrestle at 205, Judd at 152, and Soul at 145. The freshmen class consists of five athletes including Cameron Mikesell (120), Camryn Mears (152), Spencer Gibbs (160), Ty Jones (182) and Dre Oshio (205).
With some of the weights overlapping, Coach French knows that things will probably change as the season goes on but French wants to deal with weight naturally.
"Kids will naturally shed some pounds by working out and eating better," Coach French said. "We are not going to push the dieting issue because there is plenty of time for them to get to where they want to be. Right now, wherever they are is fine."
As far as goals go for the team, Coach French has not focused on major goals, right now he is focused on technique.
"In my past experiences, we talk about goals after the first two weeks," Coach French said. "That's a long bus trip to Great Falls. And to break up the trip, we will talk about individual goals."
The team opened their season on Friday, December 6, in Havre, at the Havre Blue Pony Mixer. They went on to compete at the Havre Invitational on Saturday, December 7.
C. Mikesell led Malta that weekend, going 2-0 at the mixer and 3-2 in the tourney. Soul went 0-4, Judd was 3-2 (3-0 during mixer), Cam. Mears went 4-3. Gibbs went 0-4, Moore went 2-4, Cal. Mears went 3-4, French went 2-3, and Oshio went 2-1.
Coach French selected wrestlers by quickest pin, wrestler of the week, and most exciting match.
This week's wrestler of the week was Cameron Mears at 152.
"He got better every match," Coach French said. "It is exciting to watch him."
He went on to say that Mears was pinned by an opponent on Friday, but Mears was able to face the same opponent and almost won.
Mears also got the quickest pin of the week at 57 seconds.
Kendall Moore had the most exciting match of the week, in a match where he fell behind in a match and ended up pinning his opponent at the end.
"It was really exciting to see him not give up," Coach French said. "A close second was Dre Oshio's match, where he was fighting off his back and ended getting a pin."
The Mustangs will be at home Thursday at the Old Gym to take on Fairfield-Simms. The team will then travel to Glasgow for the Glasgow Duals on Friday, December 13. They will also compete at the Scottie Invitational on Saturday, December 14.