K.C. Pescaglia isn’t buying into his own hype.
Pescaglia, Hickman’s starting wrestler at 125 pounds, went 51-1 last year, winning a state championship. Earlier this month, he accepted a scholarship offer to wrestle for Missouri in 2007, where he will join older brother Tony, who also won a state championship for the Kewpies last year with a 51-1 record.
But, Pescaglia insists that the attention he gets doesn’t put any extra pressure on him.
“I could care less about all that,” he said. “I did win a state championship, but that doesn’t make me Superman.”
Pescaglia, ranked No. 7 in the nation in his weight class by Wrestling International Newsmagazine, will lead a Hickman squad coach J.D. Coffman says should accomplish plenty.
“We have probably our most experienced lineup since I have been here,” he said. “So there are some high expectations. We want to be at a 75-80 percent win percentage, and we want to finish top three in the district, and try to qualify as many people as we can for state.”
Coffman said that he expects Pescaglia, along with fellow seniors Aaron Brady, Jordan Latham and Taylor Reynolds, as well as returning captain Drae Cox, a junior, to lead his team.
“I look for all those guys to step up in different roles,” he said.
The Kewpies will begin their season at 6 tonight with a home dual against Kirksville, an opponent Coffman says his team always has close duals with.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to end up on the winning side of that,” he said. “But, it’s one-on-one out there on the mats, so it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen.”
Coffman said he knows his players will have opening-night jitters and expressed some concern about his wrestlers trying to make weight for the first time.
“We always have someone do something silly, eat before they get on the scale or something,” he said. “But, with the experience we have, I think the kids will handle it well.”
One of the keys for tonight’s match will be trying to fill a hole at 171 pounds, where Hickman is lacking a wrestler. Coffman will look to either Jamaal Kimbrough or Ian Reid to start at that position.
Meanwhile, at 112 pounds, K.C. Pescaglia’s younger brother Vince, a sophomore, will start. Vince Pescaglia said there is added pressure following in the footsteps of his older brothers, but that he tries to focus on himself.
“It’s hard, because I know that I’m always getting looked at,” he said. “I might not do as well as they do sometimes, but I know I have to do as good as I can. I’m not really trying to fill their shoes, I’m trying to make my own, and do my best.”
A 51-1 season and a state championship might be as good as it gets, but K.C. Pescaglia says he isn’t satisfied.
“I have to win again this year,” he said.