Like other winter sports, Connersville’s wrestling team is having to approach the season differently than past years. COVID-19 restrictions have brought new challenges that will force the Spartans to learn to adapt to last-minute changes.
With the first match of the season coming up next Tuesday, they will have to make these adaptations quickly.Head coach Mac Taylor explained how COVID-19 has already affected the team’s schedule.
“Our first meet got cancelled, and a few days later our next meet also got cancelled, then we found a tournament to enter instead and two hours after we entered that got cancelled,” Taylor said. “Right now our first meet is supposed to be this coming Tuesday, but it will all depend on if schools are eligible to compete.”
Cancellations and finding new opponents on short notice might have to become a common occurrence this season. Due to the two-week cancellation of CHS after-school activities, the wrestlers are also having to scramble to prepare for their first match.
“We just started practicing Monday, so our beginning of the season when we’re supposed to be getting in shape we’re stuck at home,” Taylor said. “And now especially with the new kids or kids just coming out for wrestling that need extra coaching we’re really in crunch time preparation wise so they can step out on the mat and not get hurt.”
Since practices just started back up earlier this week, who will fill varsity positions is still up in the air.
“We’re still trying to nail down who all is wrestling this year, and we have wrestle-offs to see who will get varsity positions, so the roster might change based on those,” Taylor said.
There are some slots that are not going to be filled on the team, an issue Connersville has seen in the past.
“I think it’s going to be another year where individually we do pretty well, but as a team we don’t because we don’t have a full team,” Taylor said. “We’re still missing three weight classes and a lot of that has to do with kids thinking they need to concentrate on one sport, which in my opinion is not great advice because it doesn’t make you a well-rounded athlete. And wrestling is a tough sport and you have to work hard and be in really good shape, so it’s not easy.”
That being said, there will be some talented wrestlers returning to the mat this season. Some of them have already impressed the coaching staff during practice.
“Carson Boulware will likely be in the 120 weight class, then Gavin McGuire who was a regional qualifier for us,” Taylor Said. “Dylan Lawson really showed up last year, then he broke his leg so his season was cut short, but we’re really looking forward to what he can do this year. He’s coming into the season with a different mindset then before and really getting after it.”
Blake Beaver, Jarred Barrett, Alex Fox, and Jake Ammerman should all be returning as well.
“Dylan Sparks couldn’t compete last year, but he’s coming back and really surprising me at practice with his work ethic,” Taylor said. “And of course Evan Shafer is competing, he made it to semi-state last year. Some of the kids he beat earlier in the season actually placed during the state finals, so we are really hopeful to make the trip to Indy with him this year.”
Shafer placed third at the Richmond Regional last year, but was unable to make it past the semi-state match. Hopefully this year he can build off of his past success and continue to improve.
Unfortunately, there are some past wrestlers that will not be able to compete this season.
“Orlan Foster won’t be competing because he had knee surgery over the summer and isn’t cleared to compete until next May,” Taylor explained. “That hurts us because he’s a good wrestler, but he still shows up and supports his teammates which is great.”
There are some new additions to the team that might be able to fill the void while Foster is recovering this season. Long-time wrestler Wes Wise is a freshman this year that Taylor says has been preforming well in practice and could be one to watch.
Even with the early setbacks this year, the Connersville wrestlers are putting in the effort so that they will be ready to compete.
“They’re coming into practice and working harder than they were before,” Taylor said. “I’m not having to fight the laziness as much as usual, and they’re looking really hopeful. With all of the COVID stuff going on, they’re understanding that we’re limited on our practice time so when they come in to practice it’s business, and them having that mindset is really helpful as a coach.”
The Spartans’ first match is at home next Tuesday against Knightstown and Union County at 6 p.m. Hopefully their hard work in practice will be reflected in their performances on the mat.
Crosspointe Biker Church will be handing out free meals for Thanksgiving on Tuesday.
From noon to 7 p.m., the church will be handing out 1,200 to-go meals for anyone in the community. Around 50 or more volunteers will help prepare and hand meals out.
“We do this every year and typically serve about 1,200 people,” Pastor Chris Lovett said. “Usually we all gather and eat together, but unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 situation, we will be handing out hot meals to go. There will be a drive through style line marked by parking cones when you drive into the parking lot. Meals will be homemade, they will be hot and ready to eat. Everyone is welcome.”
The church recently returned from a trip to Louisiana where they helped feed thousands of people in need after Hurricane Laura.
For more information, call 765-265-7751.
The church is located at 1130 E. Baseline Road, Connersville.
The Fayette County Republican Party wishes to congratulate Robert Stewart in winning the caucus, held Nov.14, for the seat vacated by Kathy Rhodes, County Council Dist 2.
Stewart has a background in property appraising and will be an asset to the Council Board when further discussions begin on the status of jail renovation or replacement.
“I am very interested in what is going on politically, I have been in the jail ministry since 1994,” Stewart said. “I have a lot of insight of what goes on at the jail, good and bad. I can give insight and ideas how to improve the situation.”
Stewart says he has a lot of common sense and knows what is right and what is wrong.
“I will listen to both parties and listen to what the people have to say,” Stewart said. “I don’t like debt. I want our money used for common sense purposes. It is what is best for everyone else, I get along with just about everyone.”
Stewart is real-estate appraiser for six counties and is a real-estate broker.
“Bob will apply his extensive knowledge to provide answers when balancing community needs and expenses,” Fayette County Republican Chair Vivian Himelick said.
The city was growing at record rates. Good jobs were abundant. It’s hard for present day leaders to imagine these as problems but in Connersville in 1917, they certainly were.
In November 1917, a very contentious city election took place after several years of being led by Democrats. A big push was put on by local manufacturers and leaders to elect a man with business experience and a different approach to government. The administration of Mayor Phillip Braun had some controversy with his political appointments, and many were ready for a change.
On November 8, 1917, a local business leader was chosen as the new mayor. Republican Charles Rieder known to most as ‘Charley’, was elected with a vote of 1349 to 746 garnering 65 percent of the votes. A local marching band played on its way through the downtown and then headed up to 436 West 6th Street to the Rieder home and Charley came out and gave a speech. No doubt he knew he was in for a tough job but unforeseen troubles just around the corner soon made it much more difficult.
Rieder was born on September 4, 1864. His father had come to this city from New Jersey but both of Charley’s parents were born in Germany. Connersville had a nice size group of German immigrants and the family fit right in. Martin Rieder was a painting contractor and he and his wife Mary and their family flourished here with plenty of work for a painter. They eventually ended up settling in East Connersville at 215 North Fountain Street. Charles worked for his father after marrying Lizzie Cook in 1888 but his career would be at the McFarlan Plant on Mount Street. What year he started there is unknown, but he became an important person to the McFarlan family. Richard Stanley’s book mentions Charles Rieder as a pallbearer at J.B. McFarlan’s funeral in 1908. This was at the time that the buggy business was slowing down, and Charles was already a foreman at the plant. By the time he was elected mayor he was plant Superintendent and McFarlan Motor Company was making automobiles.
In January 1918 when Charles Rieder and his team took the oath of office World War 1 was in its fiercest stages. President Woodrow Wilson was beginning to fight for the peace so the battles for field positions were beginning to shape up. Many local young men were being called to the western front and this was only exasperating Connersville’s biggest problem. 24 local companies were making parts for the war and every able-bodied person was expected to do their part. More jobs than people was the issue. People were being asked to move here but housing for the new workers was nonexistent and something had to be done. As the new mayor began to tackle these issues a deadly flu began to work its way around the globe and Connersville was no exception. It was clear that Charles Rieder was going to have to deal with many problems all at the same time.
In Connersville there was a large German presence. During the Great War, loyalties were questioned of some of these citizens. History shows that was a mistake and a period most would just as soon forget. Again, Connersville had its own dealings with these issues. Not only were Charley Rieder’s parents’ German immigrants but the most recent Mayor Phillip Braun was too. During the war, German immigrants were made to file papers of their loyalties and to prove their citizenship. It became known that Mayor Braun had lacked the proper papers and was a citizen of Germany at the time he served as Connersville’s mayor. There was never a question though of Mayor Braun’s loyalties and it was thought he did a stellar job and his absolute best during his term.
The next biggest local issue was the State of Indiana went dry on April 2 and all the saloons in Connersville had to close. In 1907, by local ordinance, Connersville had gone dry along with Fayette County by a vote of the citizens. But Rush County did not and after seeing everyone drive to Rushville and give them the business, the law was voted out. In such difficult times, this was no doubt another nuisance.
After the war ended, the auto industry in Connersville continued to expand and the need for more workers only increased. The housing shortage became so pronounced that special committees were formed to work on the issue. New water lines could not be installed quick enough to allow the subdivisions of Cloverdale and Hillsdale to expand as fast as they were needed to. Over 500 local workers were said to be boarding with local families and were not able to move family here with them. The city and county had grown at a rate of 20 percent since 1910 and were at over 17000 in 1920 with many of those in the city. Figures for Connersville are a little sketchy as east Connersville was not yet part of the city and all residents north of 20th street were not yet annexed. East Connersville would become part of the city in just a short time and were added to the city’s water main system.
Mayor Rieder chose not to run for reelection in 1921. A big issue to be voted on by the citizenry was whether to put Connersville on a city Manager plan or continue with a Mayor. The city’s workers liked the idea of keeping the Mayor, but the business owners preferred the city manager idea. It was decided by the voters that we would continue to have a Mayor and democrat James Clifton became mayor at the beginning of 1923. Charley Rieder continued his public service though as he spent 17 years as a city councilman and 8 years on the Connersville Township Advisory Board right up until the time of his death on July 4, 1948.
Charley Rieder remained popular and well liked all through the years and it was well appreciated that he helped lead Connersville through one of its hardest times.
As a reminder, we will not publish on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Our Thanksgiving edition will publish on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and be delivered in the mail to our subscribers. The newsstand price of the Thanksgiving edition will be the same as our Weekend Edition.
– News-Examiner Staff