By Philip Gibson
The Hewitt-Trussville High School wrestling team looked like a machine last Thursday at Bryant Bank Arena. The Husky wrestlers had no problem winning three meets in a row against Hueytown, Pell City and rival Clay-Chalkville.
The Huskies are starting to look like a real contender for the state tournament next month. Coach Mark Snider was cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances going forward.
“I think for sectionals we’re set up pretty good,” Snider said. “We have 13 wrestlers, and I’m hoping we get everybody qualified
. We’ll have a shot at winning the section, and if we do really well at section, that will set us up well for state.”
A vital part of the Huskies’ development this year has been the improvement of their younger wrestlers. Sophomore Dalton Meadows has made tremendous progress in the 132-pound class and made a definite impression on his coach Thursday.
“He’s really wrestling very good,” Snider said. “He’s doing a really good job. We’ve had several kids coming along better. Luke Mastro (145 pounds) is coming along, and so is Davis Perry (138 pounds). They’re all doing really well.”
The Husky seniors have played a key role in keeping the team focused on performing well.
“Great,” Snider said of senior leadership. “Marcus Elkins (182 pounds), Kevin Elmore (170 pounds) and Braxton Busby (285 pounds), they do a great job. Those kids won’t let anybody lollygag in practice or take it easy. They won’t let them.”
While the Huskies are in the middle of a dominant wrestling season, Clay-Chalkville is going through a bit of a down year. Coach Scott Robertson has a young team and hopes to build on this year’s experiences.
“(We are) young and inexperienced,” Robertson said. “The main thing I’m trying to do is keep them from getting discouraged and build on this year for next year. We’ve got three seniors this year, and one of them is a first-year wrestler. Most of our kids are freshmen and sophomores, and we’ve got two juniors.”
One major challenge with a young team is retention.
“The problem is, once they get to be juniors and get their driver’s licenses, that’s when we lose most of our kids,” Robertson said. “This is a hard sport.”
Despite its relative inexperience as a team, Clay-Chalkville does have a few standouts who will be looking to make some noise in the sectional and state tournaments.
“Nick Weldon (160 pounds) has lost one match,” Robertson said. “Spencer Gargus (126 pounds), Jack Dobbins (140 pounds) and Austin Weldon (147 pounds) should qualify for state.”
Hewitt-Trussville and Clay-Chalkville now turn their attention toward the sectional tournament, which will be Feb. 8-9 at Gardendale High School. In the meantime, the Huskies will host the second Hewitt-Trussville Duals on Saturday. The action starts at 9 a.m. at Bryant Bank Arena.