FEB 8, WOOTTON HIGH SCHOOL-
Blair's wrestling team finished their disappointing 3-11 season with an unexpected loss at Wootton High School on Saturday, Feb 8. This season marks the worst season since wrestling coach Jacob Scott's arrival at Blair.
After forfeiting 24 points, the Blair wrestling team earned 27 points, outscoring Wootton by 12. Going into the 171 pound match where Blair's Hansel Cedeno had never suffered a match defeat, Blair trailed by only nine points. Surprisingly, Cedeno lost, putting victory just out of Blair's reach.
This match was senior captain Jacob "Moose" Johnston's last. Despite a win in his own match, he said, "It was very discouraging that the team lost."
The match marked not only the last of the season, but the last for the seniors. Johnston, as well as Nick Steward (135) and Mohammed Bah (145), find themselves at the end of their high school wrestling careers.
Coach Jacob Scott says that Johnston, Steward and Bah are all crucial to the team and that their absence will be felt next year. "They definitely will be missed. They came through in some of our key matches with wins," Scott said.
Prior to the season, Scott did not anticipate the substandard 3-11 record for the team. "The season went much worse than I thought it would," said Scott. "We were just plagued with injuries, bad health and misfortunes."
Throughout the season, the team was faced with various injuries, including a broken arm, two dislocated shoulders, a sprained ankle and knee, and an injured nose, as well as poor health of the wrestlers, such as cases of bronchitis, ring worm, and an ulcer. These problems caused additional losses in terms of points during matches for the Blazers.
In addition, the team never truly had enough wrestlers. At the beginning of the season, as several veterans pointed out, the team was noticeably smaller. In fact, the season began with double-digits of fewer participants than had showed up the year before.
As the season progressed, interest waned while injuries became abundant. The number of wrestlers dwindled from the mid-30's to no more than a dozen. This resulted in forfeits and holes in the lineup during every match. In fact, nine of Blair's 11 losses would have been wins had the forfeits not counted.
For this reason, Scott believes that Blair is a stronger team than is indicated by their season. "We are much better than our record shows," remarked Scott. "We typically lost each meet by only one match, so keeping in mind that we forfeited four matches each time, we were better than we seem."
Scott says that one of the team's problems was attracting new students. "Next season, we will have to do a much better job of recruiting." Had the team recruited more wrestlers, not only would the caliber of wrestlers had been better, but many of the holes in the line-up would have been filled.
Looking forward to the 2003-2004 season, the team seems to have some promise. Although three seniors will graduate between now and then, the rest of the team will return to Blair next year and will be able to compete in another season. To ensure success, though, the team will have to draw in more new wrestlers, hopefully more successfully than it did this year.
Although the record of 3-11 looms over their heads, the wrestling team is poised to finish their season strong at the county tournament on Saturday, Feb 22.
Alan Coleman. Alan Coleman is currently a junior in the CAP program. '04 Baby! He is a writer on <i>Silver Chips Online</i> and a Sports Writer for <i>Silver Chips</i> print. During the winter, Alan wrestles. This season, he had a remarkable 8-6 record (not bad for a … More »