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Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.

Inkspot

Q&A with Ironmen wrestling head coach Mr. Trevor Kaufman

Wrestling+head+coach+Mr.+Trevor+Kaufman+took+over+the+program+ahead+of+the+2015-16+season.+%0AIn+the+years+since+he+has+established+the+Ironmen+as+a+premiere+program+locally.+
Wrestling head coach Mr. Trevor Kaufman took over the program ahead of the 2015-16 season. In the years since he has established the Ironmen as a premiere program locally.

Advancing six wrestlers to sectional competition is just one of the wrestling program’s many accomplishments this season under head coach Mr. Trevor Kaufman.

The team won a second-consecutive Big 12 Conference title and second-straight Intercity championship. They went 18-2 as a team at dual meets, suffering their only losses when they fielded incomplete teams, falling to Machensey Park Harlem due to the extended football post-season and Hinsdale South when the Cooper Caraway, Caden Correll and Cole Gentsch were competing in Ohio’s Ironman tournament, “the toughest tournament in the nation by far,” according to Kaufman.

The program took home three tournament wins, including the competitive 34-team Mascoutah Invite, and finished third at regionals behind nationally-ranked Joliet Catholic. 

Each season since Kaufman took over the program in 2015, Iron Wrestling has built on the prior year’s success. 

The steps forward the team has taken each year Kaufman attributes to the wrestlers themselves. 

“I think that’s why our program is taking the steps that it has,” Kaufman said. It just “keeps trickling down. Each year, a new group gets to learn from the old group who learned from the old group.”

“Hopefully, that keeps going down the line. That’s how we build a successful team that endures for quite a while because they learn from the best, and that keeps going.”

 

The Inkspot’s Brayden Blackwell sat down with Ironmen Coach Kaufman to discuss the team’s 2023-24 regular season successes.

 

Q: How would you describe the talent of the wrestling program this season?

A: There aren’t whole lot of holes or weaknesses. Every kid has a role. [The team] is competitive. We have a kid that we can throw out and win matches against anybody.

Q: Can you put in perspective just how deep the Ironmen’s talent is?

A: We’ve had a lot of kids, not necessarily just our top performers, that have stepped up. We took a full jv squad to wrestle against a couple of school’s varsity wrestlers, and we were able to win.

Q: What would you say the reputation of Iron wrestling is today compared to years past?

A: We go to these tournaments now, compared to maybe some years in the past, and now a lot of the teams understand how tough we are. The underclassmen are seeing that and want to be part of what we have going on here, which is nice.

We have a lot of guys in the spotlight in the state and we even have some that ranked nationally, like Caden Correll who was a Fargo National Champ, which draws some attention. 

Q: What are the benefits of being in the spotlight or competing on the national stage?

The wrestlers aren’t so over overwhelmed when they compete in a local tournament or when we go to State.

It feels easier at State than it is at a national tournament. So it helps, I think, take some of pressure off, knowing they’ve competed in bigger spotlight.

Those national tournaments helps ease that pressure.

Then, if they haven’t been there, we have teammates like Cooper Caraway. Last season, as a returned to State, Cooper was really good at being a leader to the guys that hadn’t been before. I think that helps when you have someone that’s been there.

Q: What are the team’s strengths this season?

A: The confidence, if they know they’re going to win, that’s 90% of the battle… Every kid understands what they’re supposed to do; they’re expected to go out and fight six minutes, every single match, no matter what the score is. 

Q: What are some obstacles you think you could face wrestling in the post-season?

A: Sometimes we doubt ourselves, how good we are. Some of our guys that have been there, know [the post-season can be] a bit of a tough situation. But if you’ve never been there, and we have a younger group that may not have been to regionals before, doesn’t know what it’s like. If they get to the sectional and State stage it’s different. 

Q: How do you prepare for the postseason?

A: With the postseason, things start getting a little bit more individualized. We focus on what [each individual] needs to improve, working on any deficiencies, and sometimes game plan or scouting for opponents that they may face.

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About the Contributor
Brayden Blackwell, Senior Staff Reporter
Brayden is a junior at Normal Community; he is involved in the boxing club and Best Buddies organization. This is Brayden's second year on the Inkspot. I am inspired by people lifting each other up because "iron sharpens iron." My all-time dream is to own my own business in Colorado Springs. A book that moved me was "Breath" by Rickson Gracie.
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