Seymour wrestlers eye individual, team success
Alex Cate expects some more individual success for his Seymour wrestling team this winter.
But the Eagles coach knows there’s still two big obstacles to team glory: Heritage and Maryville.
“Both were good last year,” Cate said. “We’re still going to have to get through one of them to reach the state duals. Our really stretch ourself goal is to get through one of those guys and make it to state duals. ... We definitely lost a few guys. We’ve got some guys that are able to step right in. I think we’ll be a little stronger.”
Where Seymour may be able to see a jump is at state individuals. With the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association splitting the individual tournament into Class AAA and A/AA, Cate said the Eagles should have guys that were close to making state last year qualify. Seymour had three state qualifiers a year ago.
“I think it should be increased motivation for them to shoot for that,” the coach said. “They need to set their goals higher. Just going to the state won’t be quite as prestigious. For some of them, that might not be an achievable goal but it will be now.”
The Eagles hit the mat this year with a returning region champion in Chris Poore at 113 pounds. Ethan Joyce (138) and Dillon Baldwin (220) also reached the state tournament a year ago. Grant Wallen (132) was a match away from state last year and Cate said the sophomore should be hungry to make it there this time around.
There are also higher expectations around sophomore Tristan Weaver, who put in plenty of offseason work and has done well in scrimmage matches during the preseason.
“I don’t want to keep losing,” Weaver said. “Training is hard; losing is harder. I feel like I’m improving a bunch.”
Poore said it was more strength he wish he had last year when he lost in the first round of the 106-pound state tournament by a pin more than five minutes into the match. He was happy with his stamina that day but it seemed like everybody was stronger than him.
“Every day when get to practice I’m just trying to lift weights and get stronger,” he said.
The only thing better for the Eagles than success at the individual state tournament would be a trip to state duals. That will require an upset.
“Maryville and Heritage, I don’t know when the last time we beat them was,” Weaver said. “I think we have a good chance this year. If we don’t beat them, it’ll be extremely close. They’ll have to work hard for it.”