With a 12-13 overall team record, some wonder what happened during this wrestling season. Actually, the team hadnt even won 12 dual matches for about five to six years. All the boys know is that this year on the mats is something they and their coaches can look back on and be proud of.
They were able to look at most of their accomplishments with some pride, said head coach Mike Bennett, and still have hunger to do even better next year.
Starting off wasnt easy. Their first obstacle was the youth of their team. At least half of them were freshmen, and moving up to the high school workouts was difficult. Bennett knew the learning curve was huge and that the boys would be competing against juniors and seniors.
It was a process, said Bennett, but the team adapted well, and by the end of the season, they werent in awe of anyone. When wed be in a match that the team was clearly in over their heads, nobody quit, and everyone battled with everything they had.
Freshman Ben VanWey figured out just what it took to overcome the struggles in the beginning.
Adjusting to the varsity schedule was tough, said VanWey, and in the middle, I hit a slump. But I got it back together and accomplished my goal of making it to districts.
This young wrestler won his first match at districts against an opponent from Licking Heights, and then lost the following two to the sixth place finisher and district champ.
The District Championship competition also included senior Carl Wiencek.
The practice on Mnday before districts was one of my favorite parts of the season, said Wiencek. It gave me the chance to look back and see how far Ive come. The only thing I regret is not working harder in the off-season.
VanWey and Wiencek werent the only ones who enjoyed this season. Fellow teammate junior Tim Neptune was just happy to make new friends and watch the team grow into a family.
I wouldnt change anything, said Neptune. This season was great.
New to the wrestling mats was sophomore Luke Larson. In his first match, he beat The Bear from Maysville High School.
I just wish I could have placed second in the MVL, said Larson.
Although they had their obstacles to push through, the team proved to their coaches and fans they could do just that.
I feel that the team has come a long way, said Bennett. We had the kids who arent afraid to compete. So, even when we do fun activities or games, they would go after each other like there is no tomorrow. Its exciting to see that kind of passion, win or lose.