KINGMAN - Wrestling is not easy to begin with, and to be successful in wrestling is tougher still. And when a wrestling team has only freshmen and sophomores on the roster, saying the sport is "tougher still" seems a bit inadequate.
That's case with the Lee Williams High team, where the Volunteers will attempt to defy the odds when they wrestle at the Division III, Section 3 tournament Saturday at Youngker High School in Buckeye. The top four in each weight class advance to the state tournament Feb. 13-14 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
The section tournament may not be for the here and now with the Vols, but it could play a big role for the future of the program.
"Experience. It'll be good for these kids to see what it takes to make it to state," said LWHS coach Tom Jonseck.
Lee Williams does have a couple of grapplers with opportunities to advance. Nick Verville brings a 31-7 record to the 120-pound tournament. However, three of his losses have come against opponents competing in Saturday's tournament.
"Nick has to wrestle smart," Jonseck said. "He can't wait to be attacked. He has to do the attacking. All of his losses came when he waited on the other kid to see what they would do."
Verville has his sights set on Thunderbird's Alex Jones, who beat Verville by decision on Dec. 11, 13-8.
"I've got to pin that Thunderbird kid," he said. "I'm not going to leave it up to a decision."
Verville is motivated to advance on to the state tournament.
"I'll be trying to bust my butt to get those three who got me," he said. "I don't plan on getting pinned."
The Volunteers' Kip Penny may find himself advancing. Penny wrestles at 285 and is 7-7 on the year.
"If he comes to wrestle, he has a chance," Jonseck said.
Penny has a plan that may allow him to wrestle for another week.
"I need to keep on working hard, giving 110 percent, stay pumped up and try my best," he said.
Jonseck sees the section tournament as something his squad can learn from and use down the road.
"I just want them to go and get the experience in that atmosphere and learn from it," the coach said. "They are going to experience all the feelings. If they lose two, their season is over. But hopefully, that will motivate them in the offseason."