Small wrestling meet offers big atmosphere for Seymour, Sevier County
The scene felt like a Saturday in January, not a weeknight in December.
Six different teams wrestled across three mats laid out on the Seymour High School gym floor. Everywhere you turned was a bout or a wrestler getting ready for one.
“It’s a lot for a little match,” said Sevier County’s Zach Sauls.
“Usually there’s two teams, three teams at the most. It’s a bigger atmosphere. It’s like a tournament.”
That was the idea when Eagles coach Alex Cate put together Tuesday’s double tri-match.
The event drew six teams, including the Smoky Bears. Each team got to wrestle three matches in a scenario not much different from what wrestlers will see in big meets, including the regional and state tournaments in 2014.
Cate said in a standard tri-match, at least one team is sitting out each round. Tuesday’s meet had six teams all wrestling simultaneously throughout the night. It was originally set up as a double dual, but additional teams showed interest.
So the Eagles put together the “mini tournament” with two Seymour mats and one from Sevier County.
“It’s good for these teams,” Cate said. “A lot of times you may drive somewhere and you only get one dual or two duals. You only get so many dates.
“You want to make the most of them and get as many opportunities as you can for guys to perform and get better.”
Seymour’s David Hamilton was one of those guys enjoying the opportunity to be on the mat. The 170-pounder earned a pin in his opener against Morristown West’s Ethan Whitehead. He also pinned William Blount’s Joseph Mulholland.
“You get more experience with different types of wrestlers because everybody wrestles a little bit different,” Hamilton said.
“You learn different styles so when you come across them you know how to deal with them.”
It’s all prep for the big tournaments — the regionals and state. Cate said at this early stage many teams don’t have their dual lineups set and some wrestlers are still learning to make weight. Sevier County coach John Thompson said his young squad is just hungry for the experience Tuesday offered.
“They’re seeing some good teams here tonight,” Thompson said. “It just helps to get that mat time.
“The more mat time you can get, the more things they’ve seen, the more things that have been done against them, the more moves they tried or failed at, you’ve got to have that.”
For a more experienced guy like Sauls, it was a good early-season test. He won 3-2 in his opening match against Gibbs’ Zach Fortner.
“It gets you ready for the big dogs,” Sauls said. “Here’s this little thing leading up to the regions and stuff where it’s a lot harder, lot better competition.”