Wrestling prepares for memorable year

Wrestling prepares for memorable year

Kailey Tracy, Copy Chief

With five returning All Americans, the wrestling team hopes to place in the top five nationally and second at states, according to head coach Keith Watson.

“We are on track to have one of the most successful seasons in JC history,” assistant coach Jake Hollin said.

Senior Scott Strappelli agrees with both Watson’s and Hollin’s predictions.  “My outlook on the team is seeing us finishing in the top three, if not in the final top two teams in the state overall,” Strappelli said.

To strengthen his coaching methods, Watson attended two wrestling coaching conferences over the summer, the first with 300 college coaches and 25 high school coaches, and the second with four Division 1 coaches and Olympians.  “I’ve done things in the past [like this], but not really this much.  We’ve never had this caliber of talent.  I needed to step up my game to give them what they needed,” Watson said.

Matches against McDonough and Archbishop Spalding will be the toughest for the team, according to Watson, due to the number of talented wrestlers on both teams.  “We’ve always had a stiff schedule, but this year it’s a way stiffer schedule because I wanted to elevate the level of competition because we have the potential to have eight guys qualify for nationals,” Watson said.

The team’s only weakness is not enough “depth” in the four upper weight classes, with just one wrestler in each.

Although it’s “hard to pick one guy,” senior George Weber is a standout on the team, according to Watson.   “He is one of the best wrestlers I’ve seen.  George is on a mission.  There is no question,” Watson said.

Overall, “a lot of pieces of the puzzle are fitting together,” Hollin said.

“These guys are definitely thoroughbreds.  They’re very good,” Watson said. “This is the best bunch of wrestlers I’ve ever had, no matter what school I’ve coached at.”

Kailey Tracy is the Copy Chief for the Patriot and jcpatriot.com.