Legg sees strength in numbers

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Coach Austin Legg, who recently began his second season as mentor of the Pawhuska High School wrestling program, said in an interview Dec. 19 that the good news is he has 20 wrestlers this season, as opposed to just eight a year ago.

“They don’t care who they wrestle,” Legg said of his athletes, explaining the kids on his roster are both humble and tenacious.

Legg, 26, was a two-time state champ at 140 pounds for Ponca City High School. He achieved All-America status at 149 pounds at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kan.

Pawhuska couldn’t help but have a losing record last year, Legg said, because with only eight wrestlers it couldn’t fill out a full roster for a dual meet.

“It was all individual efforts last year,” he said. This year, his crew has more of a fighting chance. Going into the holiday break between semesters, Pawhuska has finished third among 20 teams in the Kan-Okla meet at Caney, Kan. In other action, the Huskies are 1-1. They beat Newkirk 57-18 in a Dec. 6 meet at Newkirk, but lost 47-33 to Blackwell in a Dec. 18 meet at Pawhuska.

The Huskies are next scheduled to be in action the evening of Jan. 4 at the Cushing Tournament. Pawhuska wrestles as a 3A school, and Blackwell was ranked No. 7 in the Dec. 17 rankings for 3A. Sperry, a traditoinally strong wrestling school, was ranked No. 5.

Legg said the Huskies had faced a little minor sickness early in the season, but no injuries. He cited seniors Price Perrier and Ryan Park as team members who have a chance to be state champs.

“He’s got a target on his back,” Legg said of Perrier, who is considered to have a very good chance for a championship. “He’s going to have to work for it.”

Park was a state placer last season and Perrier is a two-time state placer, Legg said. He also commented that he has formed a strong alliance with Pawhuska’s first-year head football coach Matt Hennesy.

“It definitely makes these guys better football players,” Legg said, regarding the enhanced athleticism and strength that wrestling allows participants to develop. He said that he’s got all of Pawhuska’s offensive and defensive linemen in the wrestling room these days.

Legg said his young Huskies are trying to rekindle the Pawhuska tradition in wrestling. Their motto is: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”