Newton High School wrestling coach Tommy Edgmon is hoping an extremely challenging early-season schedule will prepare his team for the 56th Newton Invitational Tournament of Champions and beyond.

“We’re looking pretty good,” Edgmon said. “Our cardio looks pretty good. We’ve had some tough tests for us. We’re still building, getting better. We look solid at the top of the lineup. We’re trying to get mat time to see what each individual needs to do to get better.”

The Railers juggled their schedule a bit this season, adding a tournament in Valley Center, along with the Kansas City Stampede at the HyVee Arena in Kansas City, Mo., and the Larry Wilkey Invitational last weekend in Jenks, Okla.

The latter tournaments put Newton wrestlers up against some nationally-ranked wrestlers and teams.

“We traveled to a lot of two-day tournaments,” Edgmon said. “If anything, we can mimic the atmosphere of two-day competition like we’ll see here and at regionals and state. What we saw last week in Jenks and KC, that will help us get ready. At Jenks, we saw a different style of wrestling. That’s good for us. We had two starters out, so we were down some of our head guys, but we had three placers individually.”

Newton is led by senior Grant Treaster, top-ranked in Class 5A at 120 pounds and 23-1. His sole loss was to 20th-ranked (Trackwrestling) Tucker Owens, of Mustang, Okla., 5-2 in overtime in the semifinals at the KC Stampede.

Freshman Nick Treaster is 18-1 and ranked second in Class 5A at 106 pounds. His sole loss is to 20th-ranked Cael Hughes, of Stillwater, in the finals of the KC Stampede.

Freshman A.B. Stokes is 16-7 and ranked second in Class 5A at 113 pounds.

This year’s 32-team TOC field includes three out-of-state teams — Stilwell, Okla.; Seneca, Mo.; and newcomer Burleson Centennial, Texas, from the suburban Fort Worth area.

Another notable newcomer is Andale, top-ranked in Class 4A.

Other top-ranked teams are Maize (5A) and Seneca (Missouri Class 1). Washburn Rural is ranked second in 6A. In total, 18 ranked teams and 119 ranked wrestlers are expected to compete. There are 18 top-ranked wrestlers expected to compete.

The sole nationally-ranked wrestler entered this year is Maize junior Kyle Haas, ranked second at 220 pounds.

“We have the top team in 4A, the top team in 5A, the top-four in all-class rankings,” Edgmon said. “We have seven of the teams in the all-class rankings. There is going to be some pretty good competition.”