And so it begins. Fittingly enough with a local wrestler.
The first signing of the wrestling program to start next season at Barton Community College is Kade Sander, a Great Bend High School senior. Sander is not wrestling this year, instead concentrating on his academics.
Barton coach Mike Bammes made that official last week with the signing of Sander.
Sander was a 2-time state qualifier at Great Bend placing third as a junior in 2014 and fourth as a sophomore in 2013.
“It’s not that it was my intentions on signing a local prospective athlete first here at Barton, I had to see who was out there when I first moved to town,” Coach Bammes said. “Then I caught wind of Kade just going to classes here at Barton.
“That’s how it began. We started communicating and now he’s signed with Barton as the first wrestling signee of the new program and I’m extremely excited to have Kade be a part of this program.”
After sitting out his senior season, Bammes believes Sander will be even more ready to get back into competitive wrestling for the Cougars.
“I know how hungry he is to get back out there on the mats after taking a year off and that makes it even better,” Coach Bammes said.
Bammes came to Barton from Fort Hays State University where he served as a graduate assistant for the Tigers the past two seasons. He wrestled at Fort Hays two seasons and was the captain of the team his senior season. He was ranked nationally and qualified for the NCAA National Championships.
He is getting his first real taste of the recruiting world.
“Recruiting is a whole new ball game to say the least,” Coach Bammes said “I’m learning as I’m going and ready to do the best I can in building a strong foundation for this new wrestling program and team for the upcoming season and for many years to come.”
He expects to release more athletes he has signed in the near future as well as a list of walk-ons he expects to be part of the Cougar wrestling program.