Although he is just the first-year man at the helm, it will be tough for Marceline wrestling coach Austin Bruner to watch his seniors walk out the door.
Marceline held its senior night on Tuesday evening, contemporaneous with the varsity doubleheader in the other gym. The Tigers narrowly lost a pair of duals to Centralia, and later in the evening, Chillicothe.
"We have a senior-loaded team, and they all bring a lot to the table between valuable experience and leadership," Bruner said. "They wrestle well every night. We'll definitely miss this senior class. Overall, tonight, we controlled what we could control, and we competed and gave 100 percent."
Marceline lost its first dual to Centralia, 39-33, in a competition that would have ended in a team tie had it not been for a Marceline forfeit at 120 pounds. Four of the six seniors won their matches.
Seth Cupp avenged a loss from earlier in the season and won by fall in the waning seconds of the match at 182 pounds, Cooper Fisher won with a speedy pin at 113, Colton Fisher won by pin in the second at 132, and Clayton Stallo ended the first round with a pin at 145. Colton Nelson did not appear, and Jacob Banks was defeated midway through the second period at 170.
In the second dual, versus Chillicothe, the same four technically won by the same outcome, although Cupp and Colton Fisher did not see opponents. Banks lost by 6-3 decision.
Ciarrah Bell won by fall in the only girls' match of the evening, and the Lady Tigers will participate in their district tournament in Smithville this weekend.
The Tigers travel to an always entertaining Lexington dual tournament on Saturday, and after that, Marceline will focus for one final week on preparation for the district tournament.
Bruner said that his side is ready for the final push, and that Lexington will give his wrestlers one final opportunity to fine-tune some things against people they may see further down the road.
"We're trying to peak at the right time, and our conditioning is pretty good right now," Bruner said. "Our technique is good, but we're assessing where we're at from every match here on out, and we're ramping it up. I've learned that our guys really don't care who they wrestle -- they have the mentality that they can beat anybody. This time of the year, you have to have that."