Blazers fall in final match, 37-33
Blair's wrestling team finished its disappointing 3-11 season with an unexpected loss to Wootton High School. This season was the worst season since wrestling coach Jacob Scott's arrival at Blair.
After forfeiting 24 points because of empty slots, the Blair wrestling team earned 27, outscoring Wootton by 12. Blair trailed by only nine points going into the 171-pound match, in which Blair's Hansel Cedeno had never suffered a defeat. Surprisingly, Cedeno lost, putting victory just out of the Blazers' reach.
The match was the last of the season and the last in the careers of Jacob Johnston, Nick Steward (135) and Mohammed Bah (145).
Coach Jacob Scott says that Johnston, Steward and Bah were all crucial to the team and that their talent and leadership will be hard to replace. "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 sub-standard 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."
The team was faced with various injuries throughout the season, including a broken arm, two dislocated shoulders, a sprained ankle and knee and an injured nose. The players also suffered from health problems such as bronchitis, ringworm, and an ulcer. These problems caused point losses during matches for the Blazers.
In addition, the team never had enough wrestlers. At the beginning of the season, as several veterans pointed out, the team was noticeably smaller. In past seasons, as many as 50 wrestlers had tried out for the team. Many of those wrestlers cut themselves facing difficult practices, but this year comparatively few wrestlers even tried out.
As the season progressed, interest waned and injuries abounded. The number of wrestlers dwindled from the mid-30's to no more than a dozen. This resulted in forfeits and holes in the line-up at every meet. In fact, nine of Blair's 11 losses would have been wins had the forfeits not counted towards the final score.
For this reason, Scott believes that the team is stronger 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 a good season, the team will have to draw in new wrestlers 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 »