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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

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Experience carries wrestling into optimistic season

The wrestling team began the 2015-2016 season optimistically, hoping to build on its previously successful year that ended the 41-year MCAL championship drought.

Wrestling walked away with a win in last year’s MCAL dual meet championship for the first time since 1973.

The team also competed at the NCS dual meet championship and went 2-2, winning wrestling’s first NCS match in Redwood history.

“It’s hard to explain [the feeling],” fourth-year wrestler Riley Dow said. “It’s so awesome because our team is now going to be remembered in Redwood history, hopefully forever.”

Head coach Alan Morris believes that Redwood is “the team to beat” in MCALs, and holds high expectations for the team.

“Our sights are set on the NCS dual meet championship,” Morris said. “This year I think we have a really good shot at placing third.”

The team was successful last year, and Morris said that he expects the team to perform even better this year.

Junior Simon Ermolov faces off against his opponent. Ermolov was one of many who helped in the wrestling team's success last year.
Junior Simon Ermolov faces off against his opponent. Ermolov was one of many wrestlers who contributed to the wrestling team’s success last year.

He attributes the likelihood of their success to the team’s overall experience.

“This year we have the broadest base of experience that we have ever had,” Morris said. “In wrestling, experience is critical. Even if you are a fantastic athlete, it takes two years before you really get a feel for what is going on.”

Dow added that  having experience is crucial when competing in a match.

“It’s just being in situations and learning from those situations,” Dow said. “All that experience just builds on itself and allows you to make smart decisions.”

The team will begin this season with a strong group of upperclassmen who Morris hopes will carry them to success.

“Last year we had two seniors [who graduated]. This year we will have three seniors and a solid group of juniors,” Morris said.

In his nine years coaching, Morris said he has seen great improvement in the team as a whole and has great confidence in its success.

“This is the best team that we have had in the last eight years,” Morris said.

Dow said that this is the best and smartest team that he has played on in his career.

Morris said that this improvement can be attributed to a renewed interest in the sport, which has increased as individual wrestlers began to compete at the NCS level in recent seasons.

“Our outstanding athletes have had success and that gave us a little more visibility,” Morris said.

However, new athletes alone would not be enough to bolster the team, according to Morris.

“Even if you are a great athlete when you first come out to the wrestling team, you are going to pay your dues,” Morris said.

Dow added that, through training, Morris is able to improve the performance of both new and returning athletes.

This system helped elevate the team from an inexperienced one to one with NCS aspirations.

Morris foresees particular strength and success in the middleweight division, and believes the lightweight division will be successful as well due to help from new additions.

He said the heavyweight division has been a hole in the team in the past, but hopes to see a boost from new contenders.

The team’s biggest weapon is its ability to pin it’s opponents, according to Morris. In wrestling it is more beneficial to pin an opponent than to simply demonstrate control during a match.

“Since our team is very good at pinning we try to make up for the holes in our lineup by dominating the matches that we wrestle,” Morris said.

Morris added that his teamates are able to use techniques that emphasize pins in order to establish this match dominance.

According to Dow, a strong bond among members of the team has lead to much of its success.

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About the Contributor
Jason Fieber, Author