PREP WRESTLING: Bentonville High preview

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN –2/18/17–
Cash Jones, from Bentonville, left, defeated Logan Sloss, from Russellville in the State Wrestling Finals of the 145 6A-7A classification on Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

The defending Class 6A-7A state champion Bentonville Tigers return eight state medalists led by senior Cash Jones, who will be searching for his third individual wrestling title.<br><br>

That alone should excite coach James Rappe in his second year, but he’s also mixing in some young but talented athletes at lower weights, too.<br><br>

Rappe has also lined up a challenging tournament schedule that should prepare his team for the state tournament and also get the Tigers noticed even outside of Arkansas. They will return to a stout dual tournamet in Owasso, Okla., which included teams that were nationally ranked.<br><br>

‘There’s a lot of talented, hard-working kids in this group,” Rappe said. “I’m excited about this group for sure. I’m wanting to continue to build this program to the point to be recognized not only at the state level, but at the regional and national level.<br><br>

“You can’t get that just staying inside the pond. You’ve got to travel out a little bit.”<br><br>

The Tigers will compete in seven different tournaments in Oklahoma and Missouri.<br><br>

Rappe’s lineup begins with Jones, who recently signed a national letter of intent to wrestle at Campbell University.<br><br>

He won at 145 pounds last year and finished 69-4, after winning the state title at 106 as a freshman. But Rappe says Jones, who did not lost to an in-state opponent, is bigger this year thanks to a growth spurt and a strong offseason weight program. He will likely wrestle at 170, but could bump at 182 or even 195 at times, Rappe said. <br><br>

“I’ve had some really good kids wrestle for me in the past,” Rappe said. “Cash, if we put it all together, may end up being the best kid I’ve had the opportunity to coach. <br><br>

“He’s working extremely hard, not just on the mat and managing the team as team captain. I’m looking for him to have a great year and his expectations are to win a state championship.” <br><br>

Jones is joined by state placers Logan Schmit, Obi Smith, Nathan Desler, Gabe Hollley, Isaiah Yorba, Jeremiah Fry and Alex Crowe in the lineup.  Schmit was second at 132 and Smith third at 126. <br><br>

Junior Zane Sims suffered some injuries a year ago, but he’s wrestled greco and freestyle over the summer and is ready for a big season, Rappe said. <br><br>

Freshmen Blake Wolff and Raphael Maraschio, along with sophomore Quinn Graves, who moved in from Arizona, will all contribute in the lower weights, Rappe said.<br><br>

“Blake is a member of the Arkansas National Team and I’m really looking for him to really make some waves this season,” Rappe said. “Quinn Graves was a state placer as a freshman in Arizona. He’s gonna help us and Raphael is a very talented, athletic young man and I think he’s going to accomplish some amazing things.”<br><br>

The Tigers will travel to the Bixby (Okla.) Open on Nov. 18, then open the season at the Jay, Okla. Border Wars on Dec. 1.<br><br>


Paul Boyd

Paul Boyd

Sports Reporter at NWA Media
Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for NWA Media. His primary beat is Rogers Heritage, as well as West Fork and Gentry.
Paul Boyd

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