By: Tyler Young/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: Senior wrestler Dakota Herald takes down his opponent.
Ready… set… wrestle! The GC Cougars Wrestling team is on their way to the start of another season looking to repeat last year’s success. We look in on the Cougars road to success.
Last year Coach Josh Holden was named HHC Wrestling Coach of the Year and hoping to maintain that title. Here’s what Coach Holden had to say about his first impression of the team this year. “There are a lot of them. We have 63 wrestlers on our team. They are workers. When you watch us practice it is awesome to see how hard everyone goes; they are young. 46 of them are freshman and sophomores. They are fun. This team loves wrestling and loves being together. It’s pretty awesome to see.”
Coach Holden also disclosed his team’s goal for the season. “Our goal this season is the same as it is every season, to get better at everything we do every day. Whether it’s wrestling, or school, or life, we want to practice doing the things that successful people do.”
Coach Holden also had thoughts on the impact of COVID for the season. “We hope none. We thought last year we did about everything we could do to prevent being affected by COVID, but we were shut down anyway. All you can do is the best you can and hope it is enough.”
Coach Holden commented on the team’s first couple of practices. “Practices have been great. Our team works really hard and they enjoy being coached. You can see us get better every day.” He also discussed how the absences of seniors last year will affect the team. “We had a great group of seniors last year. It’s always hard to replace wrestlers who have been in the program for 4 or more years and know how to do things the way we expect them to be done.”
Holden commented on the new class of wrestlers on the team. “However, graduation opens the doors for young wrestlers to come in and start becoming the next group of leaders. Right now we have 4 freshmen and 4 sophomores in our varsity lineup. That is a great opportunity for them to show what they can do.” He also had some words about the freshmen. “Our freshmen are tough. Very tough. As I said, 4 of them made the varsity team. That says a lot about how good they are and how great they could be.”
Holden commented on improvement from last season. “Dedication! We have always had dedicated kids who wrestle and work out year-round. However, this offseason there was a noticeable increase in the number of wrestlers doing more. We wrestled a ton of offseason tournaments all over the country. We had wrestlers going to Avon 5 days a week to get special training. We just always have wrestlers doing extra on top of what we have always done.”
He discussed the flaws to improve on this season after last year’s success in the HHC win and regionals appearance. “We have to learn to do things the best we can and do them that way all the time. We want to see this team improve academically. We want to see this team improve their behavior outside of the wrestling room. We want to see this team strive to make other peoples’ lives’ better.”
Coach also had a good point on what the team has mastered. “We don’t feel we’ve mastered anything. I’ve been involved in this sport for 33 years now, and I still learn every day. There is always work to be done.” Lastly he shared his dedication for the season. “We believe that no matter what you do you do it the best you can and you do it that way all the time. You should be dedicated to all you do, or why are you doing it.” Sounds like coach Holden is really amped for this season.
Senior wrestler Dakota Herald commented on building from last season’s success on his part. “I want to perform better from last year and go to state.” Herald discussed how prepared the team is. “We’ve got a great team this year, we’ve got all of our weights set, and we’re ready for this season.”
Herald also talked about how far he’ll go this season. “I want to, and can make it to state.” Herald discussed the team’s previous flaws from season ago and what he’s done to improve, he said. “Freshman year I didn’t win a single match. So what I did was I built muscle, technique, and weight.” He commented on how hard the team has been working. “The team is going crazy. Coming into practice with tons of energy.”
Lastly, sophomore wrestler Braeden Ayres: Ayres discussed what he has learned from last season’s disappointing and abrupt end. “I’ve learned some new moves. Petersons, sweepsingle, and hi c.” Ayres was asked about improvements. He said, “I’m really better on takedowns than I was last season.” Ayres commented on his confidence in the team this year. He said, “My confidence is 20/10, this team is capable for a lot of good things.” Ayres said how far he can make it this year, “As a team we will be county champs, and as a solo I can win conference.”
Ayres also commented on flaws from last season. He said, “Taking dumb shots and not too terribly smart moves on opponents.” Ayres was also asked about how hard the team is working in practices. He said, “We’ve been working really hard this season and we will continue throughout the whole season.”
Sounds like this team is really confident in their capability. Who wouldn’t? This Cougar’s team is ready for the season.