By ERIC X. VICCARO
For Ste. Genevieve High School head wrestling coach Jared Bonnell, receiving awards never gets old.
This past May, the Ste. Genevieve Herald learned Bonnell received Class 2 Section I coach of the year — and Class 2 District 1 coach of the year accolades as well.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by your peers,” Bonnell said in a telephone interview with the Herald last week. “It shows you the commitment on part the part of the wrestlers and assistant coaches.”
Bonnell, on his Twitter account, said these accomplishments wouldn’t be possible with those around him.
“I appreciate all the kind words, and thank you …,” Bonnell noted.
Being sectional coach of the year carries more weight since it’s a larger geographic area.
The work never stops.
Ste. Genevieve wrestlers are currently participating in open gymnasium sessions on Tuesday.
The entourage will travel to Marshfield for a dual team tournament in early July, and possibly they will go to a team camp in September, Bonnell reported.
This past season, nine Ste. Genevieve boys and two Dragon girls qualified for the state meet, which shifted from Columbia to Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence during early March.
Bonnell said the 2020-21 campaign was certainly a challenge.
“This year was completely different,” the coach commented. “We had to be resilient and adapt to the changes.”
This year, there were two rounds of playoffs — district and sectionals. Also, the Mineral Area Activities Association conference tournament was split based on enrollment size.
All of these changes occurred to protect wrestlers during the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Bonnell guided two Ste. Genevieve boys to greatness this season as recent graduate Dalton McNeal and upstart freshman Gage Gross both earned fourth-place medals. McNeal compiled 133 wins during his decorated scholastic career.
On the girls’ side, Isabel Basler continued to improve and posted a fourth-place finish in the 127-pound weight class — meanwhile Maggie Myracle placed fifth — as Dragons took familiar ground on the medals podium.