Scott, Rodgers, Heeke form formidable trio

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
From left: Seniors Sam Scott, Phoenix Rodgers and Beau Heeke have carried the Heritage Hills wrestling program. All three won sectional championships Feb. 1 at Castle.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

LINCOLN CITY — They have more than 400 career wins between the three of them, eight sectional championships put together, including this year, and all are looking for more.

Sam Scott, Beau Heeke and Phoenix Rodgers comprise a decorated senior trio for Heritage Hills wrestling. All three of them are going to regionals Saturday at Evansville North. All three won sectional champioships this year in their respective classes in the Feb. 1 Castle sectional.

Scott (39-1) took first in the 120-pound class. Heeke (36-6) stood atop the podium in the 132-pound class and Rodgers (38-1) in the 195-pound class. Scott is 157-14 in his career. Rodgers is 127-24, while Heeke is 139-43.

Heeke and Rodgers became two-time sectional champions at Castle. Scott can say he's won one all four years of high school.

"It feels really good, especially all the work you put in, all the time, through the summer," Scott said.

"It's great," Rodgers said. "It's a nice feeling to be part of Sam and Beau's career as well. It's just awesome to have (a) four-time, two-time and another two-time."

"It feels pretty good," Heeke said. "Hard work pays off, like they say, and we've all been working hard, so it works out pretty good at the end."

The three of them credit the success they've had not just to the coaching they've received, but also to one another. Scott and Heeke are practice partners, working on each other and getting the other person better. Heeke attributes Scott more than any other person to pushing him harder to improve.

"He's always going 100 miles an hour, and I'm always trying to top that or match it, at least," Heeke said of Scott. "So, (we're) never taking breaks."

Scott said he had "two hammers" standing right next to him when they spoke to the Herald in the Heritage Hills wrestling room Thursday afternoon. He credited Heeke for being strong and technical to push him to the maximum every day.

"No one can scramble as well as Beau can," Scott said. "The competition I wrestle, no one's at that level yet."

"Sam and Beau going at each other, even for these last hour-and-fifteen minutes, the pace that they've set, no one else is going to match that," Patriots coach Adam Zollman said Thursday. "Those guys set the pace for themselves and continue to make each other better. The old adage iron sharpens iron, they're doing that every single time in the room."

Zollman said leadership is fun for his senior trio, and it's that leadership he'll miss the most about them. He credited Scott, Heeke and Rodgers for setting the tone for everybody else. He thinks his junior high wrestlers can see that, too, by watching the three of them.

He might miss their leadership when they graduate, but he thinks the trio have taught the younger wrestlers well. They've all played a big role in shaping what the team is going to look like in the near future. Zollman is very confident in the program after Scott, Heeke and Rodgers graduate. He called the success the three of them have had an "expectation" for the younger wrestlers.

The curtain hasn't dropped on them yet, though. Aidian Rea went to state last year as a senior, and all three of Scott, Heeke and Rodgers look to do the same this year. They all took something away from Rea making it to state.

It proved to Heeke that anyone could do it. Rodgers echoed that same sentiment, that anybody who puts in the work can get there, and feels all three of them have done that. Rea's state qualification pushed Scott to want to be on the mat at state, and he thinks that held true for the others.

They've found differences within themselves from their junior years.

"I'd say I'm more aggressive on the mat than I was," Heeke said.

"I think I go after people a little bit more this year than I did last year," Rodgers said. "I think that's just a veteran kind of thing that you pick up on throughout the years."

The regional tournament coming up has allowed them to fine tune their technique heading into the weekend. Scott believes he needs to move his feet more and create more angles. Rodgers needs to trust his shot and take it whenever he needs to. Heeke talked about the need to be aggressive on his feet and going after the first shot.

The top four in each class advance to semistate. Scott noted that Heritage Hills will face tough competition. Rodgers is expecting the competition to come after them as all competitiors vye for a chance at semistate, with nobody wanting to go home yet.

"We're all coming off a sectional win, so we have (a) big target on our backs," Heeke said. "Anyone can upset anyone. So, we got to go out there and take it to them."

It would not surprise Zollman if all three of them left Evansville as regional champions in their class.

"I have no doubt in my mind that they're going to give everything that they've got," he said. "All three of them could be on the top of the podium. There's no question about being on the podium. They're moving on. We've done enough work and continue to improve and improve and improve that that's the expectation for them to be there."




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