The wrestling season started in earnest this past weekend with after-Thanksgiving tournaments. West Stokes hosted its own Turkey Duals tournament on Nov. 24, which included matchups with Person County, Starmount, North Forsyth and McMichael.
On Nov. 20, South Stokes was on the road for a tri-match at North Forsyth, which included matchups with North Forsyth, East Surry and Southwest Guilford. A few days later, South Stokes was back on the road for a tournament at North Wilkes, which included matchups with Andrews, Thomas Jefferson Academy and Elkin.
Both South Stokes and West Stokes are relatively young teams but they have already shown some promise on the mat this season.
After the first week of competition the Sauras have a record of 4-3. Of course, Head Coach Tim Lawson would rather win them all, but the “young” team is going to have to work on their technique on the mat to strike up some more wins this season.
On Nov. 24, the Sauras traveled to North Wilkes and won three out of the five rounds that day. The Sauras defeated Andrews 60-0, Thomas Jefferson academy 54-30 and Elkin 48-32.
The two losses that the Sauras faced last Saturday were real “heart breakers,” Lawson said. The Sauras lost to East Surry 36-32 and North Wilkes 42-39. These were close matches, but the Sauras came up “short.” Still, Lawson is confident that the Sauras can tighten up their technique and win those kind of matches.
“I told our young team we would just have to work harder to fix some things to win those type of close matches,” he said.
The Sauras may have some learning to do, but they have already had a strong start to the wrestling season. Already there are several standouts on the team that will likely help the Sauras rack up the points needs to win meets this season.
John Kevin Fischer (120 lbs. class) went 4-3 in his early matches. Morgan Bagley is 5-2 (132 lbs.), Dawson Flynt is 4-3 (138 lbs.), Keegan Ross is 7-0 (195 lbs.), J.J. Whaley is 5-2 (160 lbs.), former football standout Christian Artis is 6-1 (182 lbs.), Corbin Tackett is 6-1 (195 lbs.), Evan Scott is 7-0 (220 lbs.) and Ben Tuttle is 5-2 so far this season.
Last weekend, the Wildcats had limited success against area schools in the Turkey Duals Tournament hosted at West Stokes High School. West Stokes fell to Person County 52-30, North Forsyth 55-18, Starmount 61-18 and McMichael 71-12.
But West Stokes had more success on Monday night in Virginia in a meet against Patrick County and G.W. Danville. West Stokes took home a 54-30 win over Patrick County and a 44-36 win over G.W. Danville.
Head Coach Kris Kahila said the team is “improving.” “I can tell this team has a lot of potential,” he said.
Kahila said the team is young, but he believes that if they stick with it, they could have a successful season.
In order to be successful, Kahila says younger wrestlers will have to step up and take on a “leadership” role in order to win points for the Wildcats. But Kahila has about 40 years of experience coaching wrestling. Add that to assistant coach Jimmy Via’s experience and the odds for the Wildcats to mature on the mat this season are great.
In Last Saturday’s Turkey Duals Tournament, which was hosted at West Stokes High School, the Wildcats took a beating. Most of the freshmen wrestlers were pinned by their opponents quickly.
Overall, Kahila says that his team has a lot to learn. He knows that defeat is not always easy to take. “I hate seeing you guys lose,” he said to players. “Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s okay.”
Some of the more seasoned veterans of the team had some success, though. Nick Wall got his opponent in a headlock and pinned him about a minute into the match against Person County. Josh Adkins did the same in another matchup with Person County. He took his opponent down and pinned him to the mat for a gain of six points. Brett Whittington pinned his opponent in Round 2 in just 12 seconds.
The Wildcats have a lot of work to do this season, but Kahila is hopeful.
“I’m thinking about the end of the year,” he told his team at the end of Round 2. “It’s going to be tough, but I don’t want that to discourage you one bit.”