Season Review: Wrestlers Roll Up Winter Season
By Emma Duncan--Eagle Editor
Football, indoor track, and basketball have whisked away winter sports fans for years, but they aren’t the only athletes who battled it out during the colder months. Folding their singlets and rolling up their mats, the wrestling team has officially pinned their season in the books too.
“Wrestling matches are about two individuals fighting for control of one another,” Head Coach David Ferguson explained. “Matches start with two people on their feet that fight for takedowns in which the winner will be awarded 2 points [per] takedown. After this, it is a battle for the top man to keep control of the bottom wrestler or turn him to his back for points and a pin. Bottom wrestler's job is to escape or to get a reversal.”
This past season, the Eagle wrestling team did just that, going undefeated at home.
“We were able to win the first-ever FCHS Kahila Big Red tournament,” Ferguson announced. “The team put together a good showing in our regional tournament with 6 individual placers. Three of these wrestlers qualified for the state tournament: Alex Baumberger, Devin Dillon and Robbie Knott. All three had good showings with Robbie Knott placing 6th in the state. Overall I was very proud of the performance.”
However, the team's luck didn't hold in other tournaments abroad.
“We had a tournament called Tight and Tough and we were in the lead by eight points,” Senior Lee Whitlow recalled. “Six of us even went to semi finals including me, but we got there at eight o’clock and wrestling started at nine so we barely had any time to get ready. I almost missed my match but I ran up there and made it, then got pinned in the third period of my semi-finals match. It went downhill after that because five kids lost back to back to back. We must’ve not been awake that morning. It was tough.”
Whitlow is also captain of the team, a role in which he takes obvious pride. In fact, he isn't quite ready to let go of that title, even though this is his last year on campus.
“The fact that I’m a senior hasn’t really set in yet, and it probably won’t until I walk across the stage. I’ll definitely miss the team,” he admitted. “The coach at Patrick Henry Community College followed me all throughout middle and high school so this year he reached out and asked if I wanted to wrestle in college, [so] I’m going to [PHCC] for their motorsports program and then I’m going to wrestle at 125.”
On the other hand, junior Livia Conner still has another season ahead of her and potentially many more in college. Although she said she loves her team, something is missing: fellow female wrestlers.
“I think most females don't see the positive things that come out of this sport and I feel like they don't think they are welcomed in the sport. However there are multiple female teams spread out across the nation,” Conner confirmed. “To a female who is genuinely curious to come out for the sport, it's not only helping your athletic state but also your future. It prepares you for life in general [and] to not give up on your dreams. There's no need to be scared of the guys who are on the team. They are all so welcoming... Just know it is not a cakewalk; there are struggles [and] there is heartbreak.”
The door is wide open for anyone interested in wrestling to join in.
“We don’t do tryouts. Wrestling is a sport that anyone can do with heart and determination. We practice year round at either the high school or the Franklin County Wrestling Club in Rocky Mount. Anyone interested can come out any time to see if they like it,” Ferguson offered. “Open gyms are at the high school, typically Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 6 pm.”