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Wrestling Team Prepares for Season

Senior Spencer Gifford squats at Wrestling practice. Gifford is working hard to build upon and improve what he accomplished last season.  Photo by Cortland Lee.
Senior Spencer Gifford squats at Wrestling practice. Gifford is working hard to build upon and improve what he accomplished last season. Photo by Cortland Lee.

Senior Spencer Gifford, after a tiring seven minutes and a few breaks to clean up the blood, fights through the exhaustion and pain and slams his opponent down onto his head, taking first place by the score of fifteen to three at the Amelia Tournament last wrestling season.

The Royals wrestling team is working hard to prepare for this upcoming season to achieve all that they did last year, like Gifford’s win at the tournament. Head coach David Emory believes the team is preparing well for this season and they are ready to win.

“We are practicing hard every day,” Emory said. “[The team does] two hours of conditioning every day after school, some weightlifting, and learning techniques.”

Junior Austin Minton, a returning wrestler, has high hopes for the team’s season and for the athletes that are returning.

“We should do better than last [season],” said Minton. “We have a lot of people in the same weight class.”

Having the weight classes filled gives the team more representation at competitions and more opportunities to score points.

“I think we will be okay. We have every weight class filled,” Emory said. “We will have them filled for the next few years.”

Minton has been preparing for the season at the conditioning that the wrestling team does every year before the season starts.

“I have been working on cardio and practicing the basics [at conditioning],” Minton said.

Gifford has been wrestling for a few years and is now in his last year. He has confidence that this season should be a good way to end his senior year and show off the improvement he has made since starting wrestling.

“I’m pretty excited. This should be a good senior year,” Gifford said. “I’ve made a lot of improvement.”

The team has many of its starting athletes returning for this upcoming season, which will give the team a good advantage with experience and skill levels.

“We will have more experience. It was a lot of the kids first season last year. This year we have twelve of the thirteen starters returning from last season,” Emory said.

The coaches and players of the wrestling team all have big goals for both the team and for themselves this season.

“My goal is to go to states,” Gifford said. “We have gone to regionals the past two years.”

Emory hopes to show off the team’s hard work and practice at one of the biggest tournaments this season.

“The thing I look forward to most is the Richmond Invitational,” Emory said. “There will be teams from all over the state of Virginia and a few other states.”

Minton is striving for a more personal goal of winning more than he did his previous season and reaching higher achievements.

“I want to beat my record of twenty-two wins and ten losses from last season,” Minton said.

The athletes all find their own ways to prepare themselves for the mentally and physically demanding matches and competitions.

“I stretch, run, visualize my opponent, and clear all of my thoughts before my matches,” Gifford said.

The Royals wrestling team is excited and has been working hard to better themselves and the team as a whole for this upcoming season.

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