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Jeff Foo has moved into the role of head coach of the Lancaster High School wrestling program and he hopes to continue on the Bruins’ mat success of last winter.
LHS, a year ago, went 5-8 and earned a Class AAAA playoff bid, a program first dating back some eight years.
“We made some strides last season and we hope to continue,” said Foo, who served as an LHS wrestling assistant last season to Terry Marshall, who yielded his coaching duties to spend more time with his family.
Foo, a 23-year U.S. Army veteran who is now retired, is hopeful.
“We have a good group of wrestlers who have experience and some promising newcomers,” Foo said. “It’s really a matter of working together and developing team chemistry.”
LHS has capped the pre-holiday portion of its 2009-2010 schedule and stands 1-4.
“We wish our record was better, but we’ve wrestled against some tough teams,” said Foo, who wrestled in California where he competed in the high school ranks. “A big key for us is being in shape and being able to make weight. Wrestling is a lot of cardio.
“We have to hang in there and keeping working,” he said. “When you get out there on the mat, it’s you, your opponent and the official, so you have to be prepared to give your best.”
Foo can build his club around seven returnees.
Those veterans include sophomore Jeff Strickland (103), sophomore Gabe Campo (119), senior Zac Campo (145) sophomore Q Degraffenreid (152), sophomore Jordan Hamrick, senior Ben Caskey (171) and senior Marshawn Rhoney (215).
“Those guys have experience and have given us leadership,” Foo said.
Degraffenreid was a third-place finisher in the region meet last season.
Foo added Ben Ghent, a senior who competes at 189, has been impressive in early-season matches.
“Ben didn’t wrestle last year, but he has wrestled before and we look for him to contribute to our lineup,” Foo said.
Newcomers Foo hopes to get a boost from include sophomore Tobias Blackmon (125), freshman Desmond Hood (130) and sophomore Nick Wilson (140).
“This is a group which I feel will follow a similar pattern as our team did last year,” Foo said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I feel we will improve as we move through our season and gain experience. Wrestling is a tough sport and it takes time,” he said. “We have to pick up on our moves and work to improve on our fundamentals.”
Lancaster is slated to return to the mat Tuesday when it travels to Pontiac to face Region IV-AAAA foe Spring Valley at 7 p.m.
The Bruins’ next home match is set for Jan. 20 when LHS faces region foe Ridge View at 7 p.m.
Lancaster’s region match with South Pointe High, which was postponed Dec. 18 due to possible hazardous road conditions, has not been reset.