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December 27, 2013

Comanche off to good start

COMANCHE — With no returners from last year, Comanche wrestling has exceeded coach Jason Miller’s expectations.

The Southern Oklahoma Invitational proved a crystal ball for the young team to see just how talented it can be.

Freshman Kamren VanBuskirk was the first Indian to get a glimpse of  his future. He took third-place after pinning his opponent from Del City who was a two-time state qualifier. It continued a hot run to start the season in which VanBuskirk has placed in every tournament.

“We expect great things for him in the future,” Miller said. “Kamren didn’t know he was a qualifier until after he wrestled him. It wasn’t one of those fluke things Kamren went out there and dominated him the whole match.

“We told him after, ‘that guy was a two-time state qualifier. That shows you right where you’re sitting.’”

The pin at 2:10 not only gave VanBuskirk a shot of confidence, but also influenced how some of the other freshmen looked at their matches. Miller thought it was a boost for the whole team to see a younger wrestler dominate an experienced one that thoroughly.

“We’ve got some other kids that are freshman that have lost to some seniors and juniors,” Miller said. “They come off the mat and say, ‘They’re older than me. I can’t beat these guys. Maybe I should just stick to junior high.’ I said, ‘you all practice with Kamren everyday.’ I’ve got guys that are freshman and are right there with Kamren.”

Miller pointed out the difference between VanBuskirk and everybody else is attitude. When he takes that step from hardwood to mat, all doubts about his ability vanish.

“When Kamren gets in a match with these guys, he doesn’t care how old they are or who they are,” Miller said. “He just goes out there and wrestles.”

When VanBuskirk leaves the mat, the opposing team’s job gets even harder. Wyatt Schoolfield is the next one on the mat, being in the next higher weight class. Schoolfield won his match at the invitational on Saturday and was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler. Last year, Schoolfield quit the team during Christmas break, but this year he is committed to the sport. It’s shown in his matches.

“He just didn’t stick with us long enough to get to really see him wrestle,”  Miller said. “This year, he told us when he came out that he didn’t really have his heart in it last year, and that he was really going to try for us this year.”

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