Senior Aiden Baker (red singlet) squares off against senior Brandon Doles in a match featured during Grappling on the Gridiron in Louisburg over the summer.

LOUISBURG – The Wildcats have their sights set on competing for a Frontier League title.

It has been quite a journey for the Louisburg wrestling program, but the team has been climbing its way back up the past three years, coach Bobby Bovaird said.

“With each of the past three seasons, we have been rebuilding and adding more depth to our lineup,” Bovaird said.

The Louisburg Wildcats feature a roster with 45 student-athletes. There are 44 boys and one girl out for the team this winter.

“Our wrestlers have been getting more and more experience,” Bovaird said. “They are also getting stronger and smarter.”

Bovaird is entering his 11th season with the Louisburg wrestling program and 19th year of coaching high school wrestling.

The Wildcats are still setting team goals for the season, but being successful on the mat and in the classroom is important, Bovaird said. The Wildcats also need to learn about being good citizens and giving back to the community.

“We want to retain as many team members as we can throughout the season,” he said. “We want to keep our team grade-point average above 3.0 and engage in community service as a team.”

Eight letter-winners are back to lead the Louisburg boys. The Wildcats return: senior Aiden Barker, 195 pounds; senior Brandon Doles, 182 pounds; junior Kaven Bartlett, 126 pounds; junior Elijah Elsinger, 285 pounds; junior Jesse Murphy, 145 pounds; junior Brett Rangel, 160 pounds; sophomore Noah Cotter, 106 pounds; and sophomore Traden Noll, 138 pounds.

Bailey Hallas, a senior, is back to compete for the Lady Cats at 109 pounds.

The Louisburg wrestling team features a talented freshman class ready to make an immediate impact, Bovaird said.

Freshmen to keep an eye on this season are: Colton Blue, 113 pounds; Xander Lucas, 285 pounds; Jay McCaskill, 145 pounds; Ashton Moore, 170 pounds; Bronc Noll 160 pounds; Lucas Swartz, 152 pounds; and Braden Yoder, 170 pounds.

The Frontier League has been a competitive one for a long time, Bovaird said, and this season will be no exception.

“The Frontier League has been a salty conference when it comes to wrestling, especially since we added Tonganoxie, Piper and Bonner Springs. I think Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs will be the teams to beat on the boys side, Plus, we have Baldwin, Paola, Spring Hill and Ottawa in the mix.”

The kids clubs are very competitive, Bovaird said. That experience is coming to the high school level as well.

“There are some great high school coaching staffs who are reaping the benefits of great youth feeder programs,” he said.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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