The 2019-2020 Sidney Eagles Wrestling team is set to begin their season with matches in the Eagle Invite tournament hosted at Sidney High School beginning on Friday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 7. There will be a total of 29 teams participating in the tournament.
Sidney Eagles wrestling head coach, Guy Melby, is excited for the challenge that these opening matches will present.
“This tournament will have teams covering six different states: Montana, North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Nebraska and South Dakota,” he said. “We kind of hand-pick some of those teams, so those teams we’ve either seen or met at clinics and they’re programs that are really good and that’s why we bring them here.”
Melby is excited and is hoping to bounce back from last year when his team lost a dual match in the Eagle Invite and the regular tournament to Post Falls, Idaho.
“We’re wired up,” he said. “It’s the only team we lost to last year; we won everything else we went to. Hopefully, Post Falls wins and we meet in the finals again.”
Coming off back to back state championship titles the previous two years, Melby believes the experience this team has will go a long way in the continued success of his team.
“We got three seniors: Kaiden Cline, who’s been first and second in the state. Everett Jensen, who was third in the state last year and then Jett Jones who was a state champ last year, we’ve got some great leaders right there, he said. “But we have 11 juniors, which is huge and all those guys have taken leadership roles, too.”
Melby admits that having so many really good wrestlers on the team makes it tough for some of his guys, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“We have some wrestle-offs coming up and they’ll be some knockdown, drag-out battles,” he said. “Our room is really tough and sometimes we’re going to get guys that can’t win a match in here, but do really well on the weekends. They’ll look forward to the weekends because it’s an easier match than what they have to practice against, which is a very good problem to have. Our guys make each other tough because each practice is a battle.”
Under Melby, it’s always been about toughness and consistency and that has been key to the continued success of the program.
“We take pride in being consistent; we also take pride in outworking everybody,” he said. “I don’t know if we do or not, but I’d like to think we do and that’s the most important part. Our kids come in in the summertime and we lift at 6 a.m. During the school year, we have early hour at 7 a.m. We have 25 kids out and 23 kids are in that early hour.”
A lot of the credit goes into the upbringing of these wrestlers as well.
“All of our kids grew up through our AAU program,” he said. “We put in a lot of time. It’s not by accident that we’re where we’re at.”
Where Melby is now is in his 34th year as the Sidney Eagles wrestling coach tallying 10 total state championships, eight runners-up’s and four third-place finishes. Last year, Sidney captured their 23rd divisional title. This year is a new season and Melby expects the winning tradition to continue.
“Our goal every year is to win it,” he said. “We don’t get wrapped up so much in wins and losses. What we get wrapped up in is like today’s practice, we have to be better than we were yesterday. No matter how little or how large, we got to be better. At the end of the year in February, we want to be our absolute best and if we can do that, then it’s all going to take care of itself. But it’s our gig; it’s ours to lose right now, we think. We got the most returners back, we got the most state-placers back, so we just got to get to work.”
In his final year as a Sidney Eagle wrestler, Cline has only two goals in mind.
“I want to win as a team and win it individually.”
Sidney will open their first round of the Eagle Invite at 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, against David City, Nebraska at Sidney High School.