Peter Stefo -- Eagle Staff Writer
The crowd is yelling, going wild, and on the mat it's just you and one other person,your opponent. That is wrestling.
One of the oldest sports in the world, wrestling is reportedly also one of the hardest. ”A lot of people don’t realize that wrestling is the most physically and mentally demanding sport out there,” sophomore Elan Catoe claims.
Even with all the toughness of wrestling, many wrestlers still love doing it. Senior Imarion Menefe says,”It’s the hardest sport anyone can get into, but it’s the most worth it.”
Sophomore Noah Buckner agrees: “Honestly wrestling is the hardest sport I have ever participated in and honestly, I love it."
It takes a lot to succeed in wrestling, not just physical strength and ability. “It takes dedication, work ethic and heart to succeed. In the end it’s up to the individual to push themselves to set goals and do what it takes to get there," explains David Ferguson, one of the two head coaches for the team. Wrestlers find inspiration for their sport in many places. “My biggest inspiration has to be Aleksander Karelin,” Menefe says, “He's a world class wrestler, probably one of the best ever with 887 [wins] and 2 losses."
Students get into wrestling for many different reasons. Some do it to stay fit for other sports, like Catoe. “When I was in 4th grade my football coaches convinced me to wrestle so it´d help me out in football,” he explained. Buckner got into wrestling for the physical training and competition:“I got into wrestling as a way to get into better shape and improve myself for football while having fun and winning some matches.”
For others, it's a legacy. “I first got into wrestling because of my uncles,” explained Menefe. "My uncles were world class wrestlers, making the Olympic team."
With a sport as difficult as wrestling it makes sense that the athletes practice frequently. Coach Ferguson says, “We have practice 5 days a week in season. Off season we have practice 2 days a week on Tuesday and Thursday."
Wrestling practice consists of a lot of stretching beforehand in order to prevent injuries. “We bend our bodies in certain ways that would be stressful if people didn’t stretch a lot,” explained Menefe.
After the stretching is when they get into the intense stuff. ”In practice we do a lot of conditioning and working out and also technique practice and learning new moves and skills for wrestling,” Buckner said.
Then there is the part of wrestling that everyone looks forward to: the matches. “Typically every other week we have at least one match. During the season we normally have a tournament every weekend,” says Catoe.
The FCHS team has had some successful matches this season. “Our last match was January 25 against Hidden Valley and Pulaski, it was our senior night and we won both matches” Coach Ferguson explains.
This wrestling season has had lots of wins and lots of losses for our team. " This season has been full of ups and downs but overall teaching us valuable lessons," Buckner said.
Unfortunately the wrestling season is coming to an end soon with regionals coming up. Anyone interested in joining the team would have to wait until next season to sign up.