KEARNEY, Neb. — The Kearney girls wrestling program has its first head coach.

The Bearcats announced that Kearney alumnus Trey Schlender will be in charge of the newly-created program.  Schlender was an assistant wrestling coach at Bellevue East this season and spent three years as the head wrestling coach at Kenesaw before that. He began his career as a volunteer assistant at Kearney High and Horizon Middle school in 2015.

"I want to thank KHS for the opportunity to come back to Kearney and start the girls' wrestling program,” Schlender said in a news release. “I am so grateful for this opportunity. It is an honor to be the trailblazer for these girls and this program.”

Schlender graduated from Kearney High in 2013. He wrestled all four years and was a state medalist as a senior. He went on to compete at UNK, where he was a three-year starter at 197 pounds and once placed fifth at regionals.

“I am very excited for the start of this new Kearney High Athletic program and we found a great head coach to lead the Bearcats,” Activities Director Ryan Hogue said.  “Coach Schlender checked all of the boxes in my opinion.  He is a Kearney High School graduate, wrestled at both the high school and college (UNK) level, and has a wide range of assistant coaching experiences as well as two years of serving as a head coach. In my opinion, he has the right attributes to recruit, coach, and run a successful Girls' Wrestling program for the Bearcats.”

Schlender met his wife Carlie while at UNK and recently got married on December 31st, 2022. They have two boxer dogs named Sammi and Buster.