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The Young and the Wrestless

Photo+by+Ashley+Ritter
Photo by Ashley Ritter

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Paige Twenter

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   It’s one of the oldest sports on earth, with almost 200 nations participating worldwide. It’s ranked number six for high school male participants. Can you guess which one it is? Wrestling embodies all these and for 43 students at LHS, holds a special place in their hearts.

For the team, practices stretch from an hour and a half to two hours every weekday with optional practices on Sunday. The practices aren’t complete until they warm up, drill, practice new and old moves and “go live” for matches with each other. Since they’ve just been wrestling with one another since the end of October, the team was getting antsy to head into the tournament portion of their season and wrestle with new opponents, which began Saturday, December 2.

“We’ve been practicing and practicing,” senior Parker Houck said. “I take full pride in my team because every day we’re beating each other up in the room. That’s how we’re preparing, just by beating each other up.”

After this first tournament, they have five more throughout their full season until mid-February when State Championships start. During each week of the season, they have duals with one or two other teams. Before they can start their bracket-style matches at tournaments, they have to weigh-in an hour before to qualify for into one of 14 weight classes.

The sport isn’t all about shots and and headlocks, it’s also about a management style that can lift a team up.

“It’s not just about coaching the kids and practicing, there’s a lot of other things like paperwork, getting ready for tournaments, fundraisers and all kinds of stuff,” Head coach Dustin Brewer said. “I can’t do everything. I have to let my assistants do stuff too so I can make sure the kids are prepared when they step on the mat.”

Head manager senior Malissa Pennington, who’s been a manager since her freshman year, has experienced it all; from switching head coaches to taking stats to cleaning up vomit and blood. Her favorite aspect about managing is being able to see the growth of every single player.

“Coach Brewer makes all the managers go to all the practices,” Pennington said. “You get to know more in depth what the sport really means which is really special to a manager. You get to see a side of wrestling that nobody else will see.”

This is Brewer’s eleventh year coaching wrestling and his second year at LHS. He’s set some values and goals for the team and is confident in his plans.

“The best part of coaching wrestling is it’s a sport where the amount of work you put in shows up on the mat. You can’t be lazy and be good,” Brewer said. “Some sports you might be able to not work as hard and get away with it because there’s a whole team behind you. But in this sport, it’s just you out there so that amount of work you put in really shows.”

In just less than two years, Brewer has made some big changes.

“When Coach Brewer came in, he changed the entire squad. He focused more on the guys as individuals, no matter if you’re just starting out or you’ve been wrestling all your life. He let every guy know they’re here to work hard,” Pennington said. “He really inspires the guys to work hard and do the best they can.”

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The Young and the Wrestless