MCM seniors shooting for state titlesSALEM — The McCook Central/Montrose wrestling team is sending two seniors to the Class B state tournament on Friday, in Rapid City. Dominic Blindert (48-1) and Cody Eichmann (22-3) know what to expect.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
SALEM — The McCook Central/Montrose wrestling team is sending two seniors to the Class B state tournament on Friday, in Rapid City.
Dominic Blindert (48-1) and Cody Eichmann (22-3) know what to expect. Blindert is making his fifth trip to the state tournament. Eichmann will be packing his bags for state for the third time.
Head coach Scott Andal has high expectations for his seniors.
“Their goal is definitely state championships,” Andal said. “That’s been their major goal all season. They’ve been committed to going after state titles.”
Last year, both wrestlers placed fifth at the state tournament. It was an improvement on Eichmann’s seventh-place finish in 2010, but Blindert had been coming off a runner-up season in 2010.
“Last year, I think the nerves got the best of me,” Blindert said. “I’m a nervous kind of guy.”
This year, Blindert has a lot more confidence, heading into the state tournament as the favorite at 170 pounds in Class B.
“Not accomplishing his goal last year gave him that hunger,” Andal said.
Andal mentioned that Blindert has been the top-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds for most of the season and that has helped give the senior confidence all year.
“Some people would think that there would be pressure,” Andal said. “He actually takes it pretty good and I’m anxious to see how things shake out.”
Blindert remembers some tough losses and uses them to drive him.
“I think about it every day,” Blindert said. “We lost in the championship in football (too). It makes me work much harder.”
Eichmann’s situation is quite different. The senior hasn’t spent most of the season ranked at the top of his weight class, 285, but instead has spent much of it in pain.
Eichmann tore his labrum, a muscle in his shoulder, last year at the state tournament. He was unaware of the severity of the injury until the football season when it was reinjured.
The training staff had Eichmann ready for the wrestling season when the shoulder caused some issues again.
“It hurts pretty bad,” Eichmann said. “I’ve just got to battle through it.”
Eichmann has missed a good portion of the season, only getting in 25 matches. He is still limited in what he can do during practice. Andal wouldn’t disclose which of Eichmann’s shoulders is injured.
“He looks better now than he did at the beginning of the year before he re-aggravated the injury,” Andal said.
Andal and the rest of the coaching staff have adjusted Eichmann’s style to try to take pressure off the shoulder.
“It took some time,” Andal said. “The different style that we changed to really doesn’t affect the shoulder. I won’t lie though, it still hinders him.”
Eichmann still has high expectations for himself at the state tournament.
“The ultimate goal is to win (the state tournament),” he said. “I’ll try to protect the shoulder as much as possible but I’m going to go for it all.”
McCook Central/Montrose will also be sending junior Tad Reiner (37-15) to the state tournament to compete at 182 pounds. This is Reiner’s first appearance at the state tournament.
Blindert will take on Trent McKee (25-14) from Kingsbury County in his opening round match. Reiner will face Dalton McCollam (33-4) from Bennett County and Eichmann has Cody Friese (29-14) from Redfield/Doland to start his tournament.
The Class B state tournament will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.