By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — Piqua High School junior wrestlers Lance Reaves-Hicks (285 pounds) was coming off a pretty successful sophomore season, going 30-15 with 22 pins — along with qualifying for the D-I district tournament.
Reaves-Hicks was looking for more — and he has accomplished that “quickly”.
Heading into the Ben Logan Invitational this weekend, Reaves has a record of 23-2 with 21 pins, including 17 in the first period.
And his two losses came to defending state champion Jacob Padilla of Wayne and state qualifier Jon Mitchell of Brookville.
“I decided in football season, I wanted to be more aggressive (on the mat) this season,” Reaves-Hicks said. “Coach (Scott) Kaye and coach (Hunter) Bryant have really helped me a lot. I used to try and throw the other guy in the first period and that didn’t work so well, so I don’t do that anymore.”
Kaye is not surprised by Reaves-Hicks success.
“It has been a natural process and he continues to progress with his skills,” Kaye said. “All of the coaches have tried to provide him with more weapons and tools to use in matches and has done that. A lot of his wins have come pretty quickly.”
No better example of that is there than the West Jefferson Invitational.
All seven of his wins in that tournament came on pins in the first period, with three coming in less than 15 seconds.
“My only goal is to win,” Reaves-Hicks said. “If it happens quickly, that is OK. Sometimes, I think I am better off when the match goes longer. I usually find a way to gain an advantage.”
Since a loss to Mitchell — Reaves-Hicks has reeled off 18 straight wins and won the West Jefferson Invitational, Miamisburg Pool Tournament and Robin Drumm Heath Invitational.
That loss came back on Dec. 14 and was a 7-4 decision.
“That kid (Jon Mitchell) was a returning state qualifier and it was a close match,” Kaye said. “And that was when Lance (Reaves-Hicks) wasn’t in top condition yet. I think it might have been different if he was. He was really worked hard on his conditioning and wasn’t quite there yet.”
Reaves-Hicks says it has been tougher than he has made it look.
“I have definitely had some tough matches,” he said.
And he is looking forward to the postseason.
“I definitely feel like I should win the MVL title,” Reaves-Hicks said. “I want to wrestle well and put myself in a position to place at state. That is my goal.”
And while Kaye has had a relatively young and inexperienced team this season, he has seen plenty of progress.
Peyton Offenbacher (106) is 7-14 with three pins, Brady Mikolajewski (113) is 9-11 with five pins, Brayden Offenbacher (126) is 7-14 with two pins, Andru Hollopeter (145) is 9-11 with three pins, Isaac Bushnell is 10-10 with six pins and Quentin Neal (220) is 8-10 with six pins.
“Isaac (Bushnell) has worked really hard,” Kaye said. “He had one win coming into this season and is really doing well. He quadrupled his career wins in his first tournament. Brady (Mikolajewski) has been wrestling for eight years. He just needed to shake the rust off and Andru (Hollopeter) is coming back after missing last season with an arm injury.”
And if Reaves-Hicks is the face of the Piqua wrestling program right now, he is just fine with that.
“I try to be a leader,” Reaves-Hicks said. “Honestly, all those other guys — and the coaches and junior high wrestlers — they help me as much as I help them. They really push me and help me to get better.”
Reaves-Hicks sees this weekend as a challenge.
“I had a couple visits with football coaches last week,” he said. “So, I am trying to get focused back on wrestling now.”
And as he has shown — when he does, it doesn’t take long.
Contact Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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