As most people have been gearing up to see how much turkey they can eat this week, local wrestling teams have been hitting the gym and gearing up for the start of wrestling season.
Head Coach Kris Kahila said that there are about 20 wrestlers on West Stokes’ team this year, with only two returning seniors. The size of the team was about the same last year, but the team had far more seniors then — about 15 in all. This year’s team is one of the youngest teams that Kahila has coached in 40 years.
Nevertheless, the talented wrestlers that are returning to the team have all “worked hard and improved,” he said.
Derrick Drain, Jacob Widner, Holden Sands and Bryan Whittington all started last year and are returning to the team this year. “They took some lumps,” he said. But all four made it to the regional tournament last year.
Because the team is so young this year, Kahila expects that the team will take some “lickings” on the mat this season. Still, the team has been training hard to make improvements. In recent days, Kahila has been working to improve the team’s wrestling technique. Kahila hopes that all this practice will pay off later in the season.
“We’ve been working hard,” he said. “I hope that by the end of the season we’ll be respectable.”
With the season set to begin, all Kahila is looking for is “improvement.” “I feel confident that in time we will be good wrestlers,” he said. “The scoreboard will take care of itself.”
West Stokes will host its own Turkey Duals Tournament on Nov. 24. The tournament is set to begin at 10 a.m.
Just like West Stokes, South Stokes will be dealing with a younger team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores this year. But, Head Coach Tim Lawson said there will be some returning talent that he hopes will help to carry the team this season.
The Sauras only have one returning senior this year. Evan Scott will return to the team this year, after a knee injury kept him from competing last year. Scott led the Sauras in scoring his freshman and sophomore year. This year, Scott is expected to wrestle in the 195 weight class.
“I expect him to do well,” Lawson said. “He could have a good season.”
Other returning talent includes juniors Matt Poss and Corbin Tackett, who are expected to wrestle in the 160 and 195 weight classes. Poss was an all-conference wrestler last year. “They are both going to be much improved and very competitive this season,” Lawson said.
Lawson said that although the team is young, they have a lot of “potential” and he expects them to do well this season. “It’s going to take time to get everyone in the right spot,” he said. “But, I feel we have the potential to be very competitive at the 1A level.”
Right now, the Sauras are spending a lot of time getting stronger in the weight room. Apart from that, Lawson is working with the team to improve technique, from “top to bottom.” Lawson said there is no substitute for having the time on the mat to gain experience. The Sauras attended the UNC wrestling camp over the summer, where the team learned the fundamentals of wrestling and got some “valuable mat time.”
South Stokes will travel to North Wilkes for its first duals tournament of the season on Nov. 24. The tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m.
Head Coach Nick Brandes could not be reached for comment on the upcoming season in time for deadline.