The wrestling team has seen its many shares of success since the school was first established ten years ago. In fact, four members of the team made it to the state level around February of last year, but little does the school community know of the challenges these wrestling warriors must overcome in order to produce the achievements that have already defined their season.
“Wrestling is the hardest sport but it’s also the most rewarding,” said junior Zane O’Connor.
O’Connor changed from this year to last year, moving his weight class from 113 to 120.
“We lost a bunch of seniors last year, [but] I feel really good at 120,” O’Conner said.
The 120 lb. weight change was to accommodate for O’Connor’s growth, he believes this alteration has offered him the chance to progress his skills. “I’m way better at wrestling [this season],” O’Conner said. “I’ve pinned almost everybody I’ve wrestled, and I am a team captain.”
O’Connor later described the team as “very young” but he felt confident in its potential for the state championship. One of the young stars is known by his team as “Little Matt,” though his real name is Matt McLaughlin.
To get to his required weight, the freshman faced a different problem.
“Actually, [I’ve faced] the opposite [problem],” said McLaughlin. “This season I’ve struggled with weighing enough to hit my minimum weight requirement. Before a typical match, I eat a full breakfast, and I still have to drink at least two water bottles to make weight.”
McLaughlin and O’Connor both finished second overall at the Warren County meet.
“Entering this season, my goal was to improve in all my weak areas in preparation for a successful sophomore year. Now, my aspirations are higher, and my goal is to qualify for the regional tournament, then hopefully states,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin is one of the two freshmen with this kind of impact in the division.
The other freshman is Logan Hall, who has placed at every individual tournament. “[I’m] going to states man,” said Hall. “I have worked hard this season.”
One of the returning veterans is Casen Chumley, who placed sixth in his weight division at states last year, won first place at the Judge’s invitational, a competition that featured nine other schools. His goal for the season was to place third at states, and seeing he was there last year, it would be wise to assume he has a to work the same magic this season.
“Something that has changed over this past season is that I feel more comfortable being a leader on the team,” Chumley said. “I am most proud of myself for wrestling through injuries and pushing myself to be better.”
Chumley ended his interview with advice. “If I had to give words for aspiring wrestlers, I would just tell them to keep working hard and everything else will come.”