Wrestling Season Preview


The Woodmen wrestling program has been working hard this offseason to prepare for a strenuous season.

The offseason has been full of early morning workouts to get an edge on the competition.

“We have been trying to improve ourselves by showing up at 6 a.m. every Wednesday for practices,” sophomore Chase Gray said. “Those early mornings really are challenging but are worth it if we want to be successful.”

Although it is only the preseason, the team has been working hard on getting the fundamentals and perfecting the basics.

“We’re still preseason right now but still just getting the basics down. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” Coach Jay Yates said. “We’re just trying to keep it really basic so far.”

Not only have they been putting in work at school practices but also with clubs and other academy organizations.

“A lot of us go to different academies during the offseason,” freshman Michael Schrader said. “Those academies have a lot of really tough and talented kids from other schools. I go twice a week, and it has really helped me in every aspect of wrestling.”

After a very challenging COVID year which saw the wrestling team have three separate full team quarantines, the focus has shifted to this year with hopes for no more issues.

“The team really seems to be more focused this year,” Gray said. “We don’t really have to worry about COVID much anymore. Last season it was a major distraction and was definitely a challenge against us.”

Not having to worry about COVID has been helpful for the coaching this year as well.

“It is good for wrestling since we always have to be in contact with each other. It has been beneficial to us,” Coach Yates said.

The team has turned up the intensity in practice

“It has been a real fun preseason. The attitudes have been really good and very positive so far,” Coach Yates said.

The postseason would be new territory for most of the young wrestlers.

“Going along with that quarantine stuff, last season we got stuck at home right before sectionals so that chance was taken from us last year,” Coach Yates said.

Learning from past mistakes or weaknesses helps athletes improve on their game. The same goes for wrestlers.

“Going back and looking at my clips and tape from last season really helped me figure out what I needed to work on early in the season and offseason so far,” Gray said. “I have been working hard on my set ups and my shots.”

The pressure of being a varsity returning athlete can weigh heavy on the shoulders of a young returnee. Gray said he feels as if he has something to prove.

“I don’t really feel much pressure to perform well. I know I just need to go out there and do my thing,” Gray said. “Honestly, I feel like I have something to prove with only being a sophomore.”

The team is full of newcomers, but some familiar faces are prepared to propel the team into a successful season.

“I would say Gavin Rice, Zack Leber and Tyler Maxwell are a couple of our more impactful returning wrestlers,” Coach Yates said.