Growth. It’s what any young program is expected to have. With growth, there are growing pains. Last season proved that to the Lady Bulldogs and their Head Coach when early season letdowns led to post-season success. However, after the growing pains pass, you can see the fruits of the labor. Off-season workouts, recruiting new girls to the program, and looking at having the team set goals as both individuals and as a team. It’s all part of the process.
The Lady Bulldogs have several new faces in the program and as the season progresses, the readers will find out who they are. But let’s start with who the Lady Bulldogs have coming back. They have seven wrestlers returning from last season’s roster, which includes two seniors and two returning state qualifiers (one of them a medalist).
Having multiple returning wrestlers in the lineup is very helpful as they can help the new recruits get acclimated to the sport. These leaders on the team also leave Coach Senor opportunities to mix things up in the practice schedule and not have to purely focus on the basic fundamentals.
The two seniors, Karisa Hayden and Katherine Bowen, are focusing on not only helping their younger teammates but also setting themselves up for success in their final run at the high school level. Along with these two, the Lady Bulldogs have returning State Qualifier Alexis Johns who is looking to improve upon her rookie season. Katherine Bowen has already signed to wrestle with William Woods University after graduation.
Another thing the Lady Bulldogs did during the pre-season to help build the program and set it up for future success, was hosting a free girls’ wrestling clinic for any and all girls in the Mexico School District. Between the morning and afternoon sessions, they hosted just over two dozen young ladies who were seeking to try out the sport ranging in ages from Kindergarten to Eighth grade.
The Lady Bulldogs schedule is similar to last year’s in a lot of ways but the coaching staff made some changes that they believe are to their benefit. One of the biggest changes that was made was their Conference Dual Schedule. In years past, the Lady Bulldogs would travel all over the NCMC ranging from Hannibal to Kirksville to Fulton. It was decided by the conference that they would host a one-day event to get all of their duals in at once. In a sense, a conference dual tournament. There are some advantages to this setup, including saving travel costs, only one weigh-in, etc. It also frees up a few weigh-in opportunities/competition dates that the Lady Bulldogs will take advantage of. This event will take place just after the new year.
Another glaring mark on the schedule is that they only have one home event for the season, which means a lot of traveling for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Bulldogs will kick off their season again in Wright City before Thanksgiving Break. Then they are off until after Thanksgiving before heading to the Hallsville Tournament, which is one of the few new additions to the Lady Bulldogs’ schedule. They will then close out their first semester of action with a trip to the Polo Tournament, a triangular dual versus St. Charles West and Lindbergh, and a big test at the two-day tournament, “The Battle of Katy Trail.”
Over Christmas Break the Lady Bulldogs will take part in two of the Wonder Woman events the newly established JV(Rookie) Tournament and the well-established and nationally acclaimed Varsity event at a new location after being in Columbia since its inception.
After starting the second semester, Mexico will travel to the Capital City Invite, a dual at Battle HS, and then to the Chillicothe Invite before their lone home event of the season (Brick City Classic). After the home event, the Lady Bulldogs have a pair of quad meets (one in Ashland and the other in Marshall) before going to the familiar Seckman Tournament. Mexico will then close out their regular season with a trip to Buffalo.
The District tournament this season will be held in a site yet to be determined (MSHSAA should release that information later this week). And as is tradition, the state tournament will be at Mizzou Arena.
The first event on the schedule as mentioned earlier is the Wright City Invitational. There are currently 14 teams (including Mexico) scheduled to attend that event this weekend. One of the opponents is an NCMC opponent (Moberly) and several of them will be district tournament opponents (Based on last year’s district tournament map). Yes, it is the first meet of the season, but it will be an early indicator of how well the new lady wrestlers will perform at the District Tournament and at the conference dual tournament.