Liberty and Kearney boys and girls wrestling dual-68.jpg

Kearney’s Danica Green finished as first team all conference last year.

KEARNEY — The Bulldogs start the new wrestling season under second-year head coach Nick Ward. The Bulldogs finished last season with a 3-7 record and a third-place finish in the conference.

Kearney returns each wrestler from its previous year’s roster with the exception of three-time champion and girls wrestling star Lexie Cole, who graduated last year and is currently on the William Jewell roster for women’s wrestling in Liberty.

How many athletes last season received all-state or all-conference awards? Who and what year are they?

Ward: “First Team All-Conference Danica Green at 151 and Hailey Romero at 174. Jaden Craig, second team at 195; honorable mention, Grace Breshears at 117; Ruby Freestone at 122 and Emma Powell at 159.”

Who are your team’s heavy contributors?

Ward: “I think several girls are primed to have breakout seasons. Romero at 174 finished fourth at sectionals last year and had a very productive offseason. (Senior Jaden) Craig was very close to qualifying last season and has a been four-year starter for the program.”

Who are newcomers that you feel will make an immediate impact?

Ward: “Freshman Bailey Martin has a good amount of experience from youth and middle school. She should figure somewhere in the lightweights.”

What are your team’s strengths heading into the current season? Weaknesses?

Ward: “Strengths: Lots of girls in their third year with the program; buy in, unity and team. Weaknesses: We are unproven.”

What are your key matchups we should note for the season?

Ward: “Our duals with Liberty North, Staley and Harrisonville as well as Smithville have been competitive fun environments the last couple of years.”

Sports Writer Liam Keating can be reached at sports@mycouriertribune.com, 389-6643 or @myctsports on Twitter.

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