Bearcat wrestlers gear up for season

Published 12:27 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Bearcats wrestling team hit the road next Saturday for the Crisp Dual in Crisp County, their first tournament of the season. The team has yet to practice on a mat.

Head coach Chad Smith is working on conditioning his wrestlers before moving on to anything else.

“I’ve had them just running, really,” Smith said. “We won’t get on the mats until (next) Monday. We’ll have one week of mat time before our first tournament.”

With 60 matches already set for the four-month season, Smith’s focus in his seventh season as coach is winning as many tournaments as possible and heading to Region prepared.

“We’ve yet, as a wrestling team, won Region,” Smith said. “We’ve won second and third, but we haven’t really built upon our Region performance as a team. We usually have a few Region winners individually, but this is an individual and a team sport.”

For the wrestlers, the goal is the same for most of them: make it to State.

Junior Ashton Cato, also a cross-country runner, hopes to improve as an individual on the mat.

“I need to score more points,” he said. “Last season was better than freshman year, but it still wasn’t where I need to be. I want to get as far as I can go.”

Senior Grayson Heard is ready for his last year as a Bearcat wrestler. He’s concentrating on building from his performance at Region last season.

“I hope to win Region and I hope to do pretty good and go to State this year,” Heard said. “I didn’t do too well last season. I placed fifth in Region, but my ninth grade year I placed third in Region. I also didn’t do too good at sectionals, but I hope to this year.”

Though he’s not on the mats yet, Heard understands the importance of conditioning when it comes to succeeding as a wrestler.

“I need to get into shape a little better,” he said. “It’s all about shape around here. You get out there and start wrestling for a little while, it’s constant and you lose your breath fast.”