EUREKA – Those who are interested in watching the Eureka wrestling team in its own gymnasium this season will only get two opportunities which are less than a week apart (Dec. 4 and 8).
Even though they’ll not wrestle in front of familiar faces too often, that does not faze head coach Doug Ferguson.
“I just want to get better day by day, week by week,” he stated. “We have experience with Asher (Wiegand), Gabe (Wiegand), Conner (McDonald) and Joel Baer.”
The Hornets had a dual record of 7-14 and 1-6 versus Heart of Illinois Conference competition. Among the returnees back is senior A. Wiegand, who started 22-0 as a junior, on his way to a 36-4 record at 126 pounds. He made a third consecutive trip to the state finals.
According to Ferguson, he expects another strong start from his standout to the point of duplicating 22-0 or better.
“I think that’s a very good possibility,” said Ferguson, who begins his sixth season at his alma mater with a 51-53 mark. “He’s been to state three times. He won a match last year. He has a lot of fire in his belly. Being a senior gives him a lot of confidence. His goal is to get on the (medal) podium.”
Ferguson expects him to remain at 126.
Baer, who is a junior, went 24-6 at 220 and reached the sectional, as did sophomore McDonald (18-14 at 170), who could bump up to 182. A. Wiegand’s little brother, sophomore G. Wiegand, posted a 14-6 mark at 106 and is expected to move up to 120.
Eureka has 23 out this season, five more than last year, which might allow them to cover more than 10 of the 14 weight classes, as was the case in 2017-18.
“If everybody is in the lineup, eligible and healthy, we should have 12,” he commented.
Ferguson has the unique opportunity to again coach his son, junior Isaac Ferguson (10-4 at 195).
“It’s a tough spot to be in,” Doug Ferguson admitted. “When he loses, it hurts. When he wins, I’m happy. I tend to be tougher on him than everybody else because my expectations for him are higher not necessarily wrestling wise.”
Coach Ferguson labeled Fisher/Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley as the top squad in the HOIC.
The mat schedule for the Hornets appears below:
Tuesday: vs. Midwest Central @ Manito, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 29: @ Tremont* with Farmington, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 1: Seneca Invitational, 9 a.m.
Dec. 4: vs. Canton & Peoria Richwoods, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 8: vs. Illini Bluffs, Metamora & Morton, 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 13: @Olympia, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 3: @ Knoxville with Kewanee, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 9: @ El Paso-Gridley,* 6 p.m.
Jan. 12: Amboy Invite, 9 a.m.
Jan. 17: vs. Illinois Valley Central & Peoria Heights @ Chillicothe, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: Randy Bowman Invite @ Le Roy, 9 a.m.
Jan. 22: @ Deer Creek-Mackinaw* with EP-G & Tremont
Jan. 26: HOIC Super Duals @ Le Roy, 9 a.m.
Feb. 2: Regional (likely @ DCM)
Feb. 8-9: Sectional (individual @ Petersburg Porta)
Notes: The older Wiegand’s record on the prep level is 101-23 for a winning percentage of .815. Doug Ferguson’s lengthy beard, which was a 13-month project, was shaved off Nov. 5, two days after the football season ended in the second round of the playoffs.