By Chris Chaney
The Glen Este wrestling team didn’t need an acclimation period with Chris Redmond when their former head coach Jason Roush dawned a different shade of purple, filling the head coaching vacancy at Elder High School. After all, Redmond, previously the Glen Este Middle School coach, had helped shape the varsity wrestlers earlier in their career.
“I graduated from Glen Este High School in ‘96 and have been involved in the junior high for the past 10 years,” Redmond said. “I jumped down to the junior high because my teaching position is in the junior high. When Roush decided to go to Elder, the coaching staff asked me to move up because I’ve coached all these kids at the junior high level.
“I have a really good relationship with them and we didn’t want to throw a wrench into the mix with technique. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Redmond said the success that the current varsity wrestlers experienced under his tutelage in junior high along with his familiarity with their wrestling styles has made the move seamless. The first-year head coach was also adamant about the support he’s received from his staff, the alumni and the parents throughout the program.
Returning five district qualifiers from last year’s Eastern Cincinnati Conference championship team, expectations for the Trojans as the season winds down are very high.
“We’re off this week, then next week is league,” Redmond said. “That’s going to be a huge meet for us with Loveland (the second-ranked team in the city). We haven’t seen them head-to-head yet, so that’ll be interesting.
It’s going to be an absolute war. Loveland is stacked, so we’re looking to have a lot of fun.”
Redmond also explained that with the ECC incorporating a round-robin-style tournament for each weight class as opposed to a bracket-style tournament that a true league champion will be crowned. As opposed to year’s past, each wrestler will face more opponents en route to a league championship.
Among those Redmond has tapped to contend for league titles are four of the five returning district qualifiers. The fifth returner, Seth Crissman at 285, was injured at the Coaches Classic. A torn labrum and cracked humerus will keep the sophomore heavyweight out for the remainder of the season.
Starting from the bottom, Gage Branson at 113 pounds has high expectations both in the league meet and beyond.
“(Branson) has been very dominant on the mat,” the coach said. “He’s fallen short of his goal the past couple of years of going to state, but he’s focused and become more offensive and aggressive.”
At 126, Brandon Smith has a 31-7 record on the season with 18 pins. Matt Sicurella at 138 is the Trojans lone returning state qualifier and has a combined record of 21-6. He has wrestled a bit at 132 as well.
Rounding out the returning district qualifiers, Matt Kennedy at 182 has accrued a 21-10 mark and Redmond expects him to return to districts and possibly qualify for state.
Among those the coach expects to join the four previous qualifiers is senior Max Davis at 145 pounds. Davis was unable to finish last season due to injury, but healthy this season, Redmond believes he can qualify for state.
At 120 pounds, the Trojans’ Tristin McGrath has the potential to come out of a stacked weight class and get up to districts, Redmond said. Also, at 195 Nate Stone has a shot to turn a disappointing freshman season into a breakout sophomore campaign.
Glen Este has a pair of dual matches between the ECC next weekend, Feb. 1 that Redmond said he would like to use as warmups for the sectional.
The Trojans will wrestle in Division I at Hamilton High School on Feb. 14 with the first matches to begin at 6 p.m.