The Wolverine wrestling season started with much anticipation and excitement for the experienced team, and thanks to great showings in the well-attended intrasquad duel and Cowboy duels in Laramie, Wyo., hopes are still high for a great season.
“We have talented guys on our team,” said head coach Greg Williams. “They are pretty evenly matched within the first and second team, because before it used to be our starters and really nobody else. We’re pretty solid. We don’t have weak kids.”
That talent and depth was displayed at the intrasquad duel held on Nov. 1, where many of the close matches determined starting position for some wrestlers. Each match was won and lost by a slim margin of points and the competitive wrestling continued in the Wyoming tournament, although coach Williams knows his team can accomplish more.
“Our main goal is to get guys to nationals,” Williams said.
What does it really mean to have a breakthrough performance? One might think that just winning the match is good enough, but these athletes train much harder than to merely get by and just win. Having a breakthrough performance essentially means to beat the weaker opponent convincingly and compete or even beat the opponents at an equal or higher level. And for Williams, this is where he feels his team is close to.
“All of our older wrestlers are close to that breakthrough,” Williams said. “We’re going to keep working until it clicks in some of these guys and they are just going to go out and beat some of these ranked guys.”
The coaching staff also understands that this kind of breakthrough won’t just happen overnight. It comes down to practice and preparation. With such talent on the team, younger wrestlers may develop faster and be closer to that breakthrough. That is something Williams understands completely.
“We’ve been looking at the first two years or maybe even the third to see if that is where they are going to break through,” Williams said. “We know its going to happen, its just a matter of when.”
“We’ve been anticipating the competition to see how well they do on the mat,” Williams said. “This week has been cleaning that up and getting ready for better competition and more ranked guys.”
The Wolverines have a few more weeks of competition and tournaments to hit the breakthrough point before they have their biggest test of the season at the Cliff Keen invitational tournament on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas, Nev. The tournament will show several ranked opponents who will compete for national recognition.