News file photo Mount Vernon’s Triston Bowens, top, controls an opponent during a match last year at the state wrestling meet. Bowens is one of several veterans returning for the Yellow Jacket wrestling team this winter.

MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets wrestling team has quite a few returners for this year’s season. The returners bring very necessary veteran experience to a team that did very well last season and hope to continue their success for their upcoming matches.

Returners for the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets include Triston Bowens, a returning state qualifier, and Ryan Tiell, a returning state alternate. The returners also include Colton Spurgeon, Jacob Burrell, Gabe Shannon, Wyatt Gregory, Gabe Harmon (all five of whom were district qualifiers), Nate Stradley, Conner Lang, Dylan Hartman, Stephen Schisler, Logan Moore and Xavier Guillermo (all six of whom are varsity letter winners).

With so many returners coming back to the mat this year for Mount Vernon, there are also a lot of leaders who will help push the underclassmen into following the leadership example set by the returning upperclassmen.

“Bowens and Tiell qualifying to the state tournament at the Schott last year and taking in the experience was huge for them confidence wise,” said Coach Nate Cornell. “Out of our seven returning district qualifiers, five won matches last year at the district tournament, all of which helps experience wise this year and with motivation to get them back there and push towards state qualification births like Bowens and Tiell. All of the returners this year have been great leaders on and off the mat as well as vocally and by example. With so many guys returning, they all know what is expected of them in school, in practice, and in competition.”

There are two graduates that the Mount Vernon wrestling team will be missing: Jacob DeHart and Max VanFossen. Both wrestlers were captains of the wrestling team at Mount Vernon and four-year letter winners that had outstanding work ethic and leadership capabilities, according to Cornell. DeHart was a two-time district qualifier and VanFossen was a two-time state qualifier who earned seventh place during his final season as a Yellow Jacket. VanFossen also set a school record in wins (50) and pins (37). The current members of the Yellow Jacket wrestling roster have quite the shoes to fill after missing these two outstanding wrestlers, but are very much up to the challenge.

“Every single year the team goal is to work towards becoming a confident, physical and aggressive team that wrestles with ‘an edge’ and is always looking to attack first, score points and compete in big matches,” said Coach Cornell. “We will work to improve every week as individuals and even more so as a team in hopes of putting together a strong run from the OCCs through the state wrestling tournament.”

With their wrestling philosophy of aggressiveness, confidence, and physicalness the Mount Vernon wrestling program will look to compete with a very competitive Ohio Cardinal Conference as well as in tournament competition.

“We look to compete with state wrestling powers Ashland and West Holmes in the OCC tournament while keeping focus on the big picture goal of wrestling at our best come post-season time at the sectional, district, and state wrestling tournaments.” said Coach Cornell.

On Dec. 7, Mount Vernon will host the Bad Apple Brawl, a highly competitive 18-team event. The Jackets first duel meet of the year will take place on Dec. 5 at Pleasant Street Elementary School against Hilliard Darby.


Cody Strawser: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews