Klint McKean is back as Mingus Union head wrestling coach and he has a couple main goals.
McKean, who had been the Marauders’ head coach for two seasons earlier in the decade, said Mingus Union is close to one of those goals already.
“We’re really coming together really well,” McKean said. “We’ve had two main goals that I set for the team at the beginning of the season, one is to fill every weight class, we haven’t met that goal yet. We are forfeiting two weight classes, so 106 and heavyweight, but we’re filling every other weight class and that’s the most that we’ve filled in years. I think last year we were giving up about five weight classes, so that sets us up really well during duals.”
McKean said in 2017 in Arizona at the high school level forfeiting two weight classes is respectable but filling them all is something they need to do to get back to winning state titles.
“It is difficult,” McKean said. “I think it is definitely an achievable goal for us but right it’s just the smallest guy and the biggest guy that we don’t have, we’ve got a lot in the middle but that 106 and heavy weight is what we’re lacking, so giving up two weight classes in this day and age in high school wrestling in Arizona is not too bad, it’s definitely something you can overcome, but the top teams fill every weight class and that’s what we want to do.”
McKean, who win the state championship in 2001, said his other main goal is to get the AIA scholar award, which is an average gpa of 3.5.
“We’re not there yet, it’s a lofty goal, we have some guys with grade issues, but that I think that’s kinda the highest achievement that this team can have,” McKean said. “So we’ve been talking to them a lot about academics and being a good student and if you’re a good student then you’re a good athlete.”
A Mingus team won that and the state championship.
The Marauders’ three captains: senior Lucas Svoboda, senior Nick Doerksen and junior Trent Miller lead the way.
Svoboda finished second at State last year, Miller was sixth last year and is a two time state placer and Doerksen was one away from placing last year.
“So far it’s been good, we’ve had a good start,” Doerksen said. “Our conditioning is up there. We have a lot of new guys and they’re really picking up all the moves fast.”
Svoboda said that second place finish last year is very motivating.
“It’s been amazing, especially getting second/runner up last year,” Svoboda said. “It’s just this year coming into the season it makes me want to work harder and harder for that first place and all my coaches and teammates, they all push me too.”
Last year McKean was an assistant coach for the high school team, splitting his time with the middle school squad. The captains are glad to have him every day of the week now.
“I like McKean as a full time head coach, he really knows what he’s doing,” Doerksen said. “He has a lot of experience and he knows exactly how to work us hard and what to do.”
McKean, who teaches English at Mingus Union, has a busy schedule since he is still coaching younger kids and they can’t practice at the same time, but he
“I’m coaching wrestling from 3:30 to 7:30 everyday (laughs) and we go from high school practice to our youth practice and it makes for a long period but my sons are still in the youth program so I’ve got a good reason to be there and pretty good motivation,” McKean said.
The other new development for Mingus Union is their new wrestling room, which the captains gave rave reviews.
“I think the new room has definitely been awesome for working out in and stuff like that. It’s been a lot better for conditioning too,” Miller said. “It’s an awesome room. Everything in it is brand new, so like out other room was just supposed to be a temporary building and it lasted for like over 30 years, so this is definitely a major step up.”
The Marauders depth is due in no small part to their additions.
“We have a big freshman class, we’ve had 11 freshmen come out, which again is the most we’ve had in years,” McKean said. “They’re a good group. They’re green, only one of them has wrestling experience but they’re good athletes, they catch on quick.”