Newman Wrestlers Raise Bar
In their last season before NCAA Division II, the Jets face a tougher schedule.
One year is all that remains for the Newman wrestling team in its provisional stage between NAIA and NCAA Division II.
Again this season the Jets will compete as a member of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. The NCWA is a wrestling organization that brings together NCAA, NAIA, NCWA and junior college schools for competition throughout the season, then holds The National Collegiate Wrestling Championships in March of each year.
Newman will focus on continued growth and development in the NCWA before moving to NCAA II.
If last year is any indication, it's only going to get better for the Jets.
"The expectations are continuing to get higher and the kids know it," said coach Mark Stovall, in his fourth season with the Jets. "We were so close to having six or seven All-Americans last season. We've been training to get over that hump."
Instead of the six or seven NCWA All-Americans, Newman had two.
Junior Issac Wall finished third at the NCWA national tournament in the 133-pound class, while Clay Goodloe took eighth in the 141-pound class. Both are back this season.
Along with Wall and Goodloe, 2006 national champion Curtis Chenoweth also returns.
"With all the guys we have back, we should rack up a ton of points," Goodloe said. "The NCWA is really difficult, but I don't see why we can't win in it."
What's more encouraging is there are only two seniors on the roster.
So when next season rolls in, Newman should need little personnel adjustment.
"Our program won't change much -- we're still going to get better," Stovall said. "We might have to change recruiting a little bit, but we still want the best kids in the Midwest."
The move to NCAA Division II won't alter the Jets' scheduling.
"We're called an 'independent' since none of the other Heartland Conference schools have wrestling," Stovall said. "Teams around the area see how we've climbed the ladder, so they want to schedule us. This is by far the best schedule we've had."
Newman begins its challenging regular season Thursday with a home dual with Pratt Community College.
More tests are to come with dates against Fort Hays State, Colorado School of Mines and Central Missouri.
This time next year, the Division II label will be in front of the program.
"It's going to be tough," Goodloe said. "But Division II doesn't stand out in bold letters and scare us."