Braves are young this year but determined to improve as the wrestling season goes on

Looking at his wrestling team, Banks coach Dan Herb is overwhelmed by just how young of a squad he has.

“We’re super young,” Herb says. “We’ve only got five juniors and seniors. We’ll be young, but we have some tough kids. I’ve got seven or eight kids who are real tough and then I’ve got seven or eight kids who have never wrestled before. It’ll be an interesting season.”

Herb’s plan is to get his young team out on the mat as often as possible and allow them to get some experience under their belts that they can carry with them throughout the season.

“The biggest thing for me is just getting them matches and helping the younger guys get more confidence,” Herb says.

Colin Purinton will wrestle at 106 pounds after advancing to the state quarterfinals at that weight last year.

“He should be tough this year,” Herb says. “He was a regional champ last year and he was really undersized. He only weighed about 90 pounds all year and he was wrestling at 106. I think he’ll do real well this year. We’re expecting big things from him.”

Travis Thompson will wrestle at either 145 or 152 after finishing fifth in the state at 145 pounds last season as a freshman.

“He’s my only returning state placer,” Herb says. “He took fifth place in state last year. He was also a regional champ.”

Justin Purinton will wrestle at 126 pounds.

“He was a regional qualifier,” Herb says. “He wrestled all summer so he’s gotten pretty tough.”

Trevor Thompson will wrestle at 138 pounds.

“He’s one of my seniors,” Herb says. “He’s been doing a really good job of leading the guys this year.

Clay Kemper will wrestle at 160 pounds.

“He was a regional qualifier last year,” Herb says. “Clay is just a tough kid, super athletic and he filled out really well over the summer. He’s a really fundamental wrestler. I think he’ll have a good year.”

With the youth throughout the Braves’ lineup, Herb is not quite sure what to expect this season. Still, he has confidence in what his wrestlers will be able to do on the mat.

“It’s kind of weird, I’m just waiting to see how we do,” Herb says. “Team-wise, I think we’ll battle. We’ll be competitive everywhere we go. I have some kids who I expect to do real well. I’m expecting nothing but the best from the guys and I think we can build a really competitive lineup.”

Young or not, Herb is not able to hide just how much he likes the team Banks is fielding this season. With their hard work and dedication to the sport, Herb says that the team provides him with everything a coach could possibly want.

“I love this group, man. They’re young and they don’t know a whole lot yet, but they’ve been working their butts off in there,” Herb says.

“They’re tough and scrappy and they get in and work hard. It’s the best group I’ve had as far as work ethic. They’re not afraid to get their noses in there and work their tails off.”

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