Wildcat wrestling reshapes its program

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Wildcat wrestling reshapes its program

Hinty battling against a Robert E. Lee wrestler at a home match

Hinty battling against a Robert E. Lee wrestler at a home match

Photo By Kala Youngblood

Hinty battling against a Robert E. Lee wrestler at a home match

Photo By Kala Youngblood

Photo By Kala Youngblood

Hinty battling against a Robert E. Lee wrestler at a home match

Blake Allen, Head Visual Editor

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As the 2017-2018 season approaches, the Cats’ wrestling team is filled with fresh faces. The ‘Cats have nine freshmen joining the team, as well as a new head coach, Aaron Bruce. Bruce hopes for that trend to continue and has a plan to keep numbers growing.

“In order to revamp the wrestling program, it all starts with recruiting, and I am super excited in having nine freshmen join the team this year,” said Bruce. “That’s a goal I am going to have, is every year get as many freshmen coming up, and I am also engaged in the middle school program. Hopefully, we can get some more energy at the middle school program and that can be a feeder system into the high school.”

Freshman Seth Youngblood has set some goals for himself this season and believes he can be a strong contributor to the team.

“My goals I have set for myself this season is to try to win most of my matches and, in my opinion, the attribute that I think I can bring to the team this season is determination,” said Youngblood.

Going into this season, Bruce has already noticed leadership from some of the seniors.

“I know this season I have some good leadership in Kage Tomlin, Anderson Huger, and Smith Hinty, our three captains, and they are doing a really good job,” said Bruce. “I have been really impressed. There have been things like when I was handing out uniforms and not in the practice room, and the captains went on without me, and that is a good sign of leadership,” said Bruce.

In his senior season, Tomlin reached 100 career wins, and he has two main skills that allowed him to accomplish this feat.

“In my opinion, keeping intensity up and working on my technique were main keys in reaching 100 wins,” said Tomlin.

As a co-captain, Tomlin foresees a learning curve for the new members, but emphasizes two objectives that may help get over the curve.

“Last year, as a captain, we had an older team who knew what to do,” said Tomlin. “This year, we are going to have to work with all the new freshmen and get them up to the high school wrestling speed. It just takes time and effort.”
Last season, Huger had his most memorable match against a Basset High School wrestler. Huger lost the match by a score of 2-3, but it taught Huger something valuable.

“Competing against that Basset High School wrestler really taught me a lot about myself, through giving it my all in that match,” said Huger. “After that experience, this season I’d most like to improve on my technique this year. Also, last year my conditioning was good, but my skills have room for improvement.”

As a co-captain, Huger emphasizes leadership traits he thinks he will need to have to lead this young team.

“I will need to have patience; having over 20 guys in the room is difficult and it takes a mature approach to lead,” said Huger.

As this season begins, Bruce is in his first-year coaching with some goals or expectations for the team, not only as wrestlers, but also as boys .

“I wanted to be the wrestling coach at RCHS because, number one, as a business guy in our local community, it’s important for me to help develop the future leaders, and leadership is a big part of this program, and a big part of what I have in mind, and I just want to give back to the community, and turn boys to men so to speak,” said Bruce.

“As the new coach, I think first and foremost goal-wise, I am much more concerned about something I would call functional goals. A functional goal would be something along the lines of: we are going to work hard, we are going to work smart, and we are going to work as a team. I call that hard work, smart work, and teamwork,” said Bruce.

When dealing with the aspects of the wrestling world, Bruce sheds light on how he thinks people think about wrestling, as well as what he thinks wrestling is.

“Those three things are a kind of mantra I have as a coach, so I know a lot of the times in the wrestling world, some people think that it is an individual sport, but the truth of the matter is, it is a team sport too,” said Bruce. “So, the more we can kind of work together as a team, get all the way up from the freshmen to the seniors, and engage as one unit, I think that would be a big part in what I want to see accomplished. As far as winning and losing, it will take care of itself.”

The wrestling team’s first match took place at Parry McCluer on December 1-2. However, the wrestling team has had matches since then, so check out the sports recaps on The Prowler website for more.




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Wildcat wrestling reshapes its program