Monday, February 22, 2016

S7s: Feb 21- State Championship Edition

1) This is my 16th year as the head coach of North Henderson Wrestling. I always tell my kids that our goal is February. We've had a great February so far with a conference championship and Regional Runner-up. We qualified six wrestlers to the state tournament, held this past weekend.

What a weekend it was for us. Our team finished tied for 2nd overall and we had four state placers. Josh Blatt fought his way to overtime in the 106 Championship finals. We were down by two with 30 seconds left and took our opponent down. In overtime, we were able to catch our opponent on his back and secure the fall. That ended up being huge. It moved us ahead of Piedmont for second place. The only team that could catch us was Hickory Ridge. Their 113 pounder was down most of the match and, in dramatic fashion, got a takedown and back points late in the third period. The win bumped Hickory Ridge into a tie with us.

Paul Searcy took 3rd at 145, Will Baldwin was 4th at 138 and Morgan King was 5th at 113. Considering our 220 was scratched at weigh ins, I'm really proud of the effort of the Knights. We were only 3 points behind Enka and we had opportunities to catch them. But our guys battled, showed character and excelled when it was demanded of them. We're excited to be returning all our state placers and we'll be shooting for that goal of a championship next year.

2) Lots of great memories from the weekend, but this photo is going to be talked about for years. Wayne Nock is now internet famous. This was right after the pin was called in Josh's match. Priceless. We were stunned, you can say...

3) Cele, our 220 pounder, was disqualified because of a cold sore. It was truly a heartbreaker. This is a kid we really love and who loves his teammates. I took him home after practice every day his freshman year and most days his sophomore. He started off as an mediocre wrestler but stuck with the sport and became one of the best in the state. I hate he did not get a chance to compete for a state title. I think that he hates knowing that his points could have earned us a state title as a team. 

All things happen for a reason. I don't know what the reason is here, but I trust that God has great things in store for Cele, our kids and myself through this experience. 

4) Last week was my birthday week. The people at school were really nice and made me feel special without embarrassing me. I had a small dinner after practice with some friends and some of my favorites.

5) I didn't love To Kill a Mockingbird, but I can appreciate the importance of Harper Lee's novel. We've lost another American icon.

6) Oh, South Carolina. Nice job in the primaries. I still can't believe that people follow Trump, but I understand it reflects a part of the American soul that we've kept hidden. There is a lot of fear and hatred still in us. That said, I believe that Cruz is much more dangerous than Trump. 

7) I'm tired. But I'm grateful for what I do. We teach and mold. We challenge and shape. We laugh and cry. Moments like this weekend remind me that I get to be a part of something special. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

S7s: Feb 14

1) Big burden off my shoulders today. We hosted the 3A West Regional Tournament over the weekend. 24 schools and the top 4 finishers in each weight class advance to the State Tournament next weekend in Greensboro. It's a huge undertaking that requires weeks of planning and organizing volunteers, supplies and prepping for the tournament.

We pulled it off. The tournament ran great. The volunteers were fantastic and there was some great wrestling all weekend. I spent the better part of the last two weeks getting things ready and now that the tournament is over, there is a lot of relief.

On top of hosting a great tournament, we wrestled really well as a team. The Knights finished 2nd overall to Enka and we qualified 6 wrestlers to the State Tournament. Josh Blatt was champion at 106. Paul Searcy (145), Daniel Dowling (182) and Cele Cardenas (195) finished 2nd in their weights and Morgan King (113) and Will Baldwin (138) were 3rd place. It was a great weekend to be a Knight. On to States...

2) Today is Valentine's Day. Even if I were in a relationship, I'd think Valentine's Day is stupid. Good day for Hallmark, restaurants and florists though.

3) Rest in Peace, Antonin Scalia. 

4) Went and saw the Revenant today. Stunning, especially when you learned that the crew and actors were on set in really extreme conditions. Some scenes made me cold. Others made me grimace. It's based on the true story Hugh Glass. Or is it. The movie is exaggerated a bit from the actual story but if Glass was indeed mauled by a bear and dragged himself 80 miles back to a settlement. Movie also made me miss the west. 

5) Track season officially starts tomorrow. Congratulations to my friend and now former TC Roberson Track coach Andy Morgan. He's starting his new gig as track coach and HEAD Football Coach at McDowell. Wish you the best, Andy. Roberson is a premier program, I wonder who will take over there. Citizen-Times

6) This is not okay: 5 DWI and Still Driving

There has to be a better way of keeping people who have charges off the road. I understand innocent until proven guilty, but this woman is a repeat offender. We are fortunate someone is not dead. 

7) Got a ride in last week before the Super Bowl. 43 miles. Up to Pinnacle Mt Rd on the ECR, all the way to Sky Top in Dupont, to Reasonover Rd, left on Green River Rd, climb Cabin Creek and then home. I barely made it home. Didn't have enough carbs. Was bonking. Looking forward to more saddle time after wrestling is over and when the weather improves. We're in the middle of the coldest week of the winter. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

S7s: Feb 6

1) Sunday Sevens is Saturday Sevens this week. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl Sunday, I doubt I'll be blogging much tomorrow. That said, I'm hoping for a good game. I think the final score will be 27-24. I have no idea who will win.

2) Knights Wrestling fell in the first round of the State Duals this week. We lost to Piedmont 31-30. There were several opportunities for us to make up at least that one point, if not more. Piedmont wrestled really well and they're a great team, nothing bad to say about them. They earned the win.

  • I do wish the NCHSAA would seed the dual team state playoffs. Tournament is already paired, we knew a month ago we'd get Piedmont and I believe that both teams are among the best in the state. That's the luck of the draw. In another pairing, two teams with losing records met in the first round.
  • Enka and Piedmont met for the West Championship (State Semifinals). We lost to both teams by a combined 5 points. Between those two teams, they won 14 matches and we won 14 matches.
  • Congratulations to Enka and Mitchell for making the state finals. They both lost to formidable opponents, but getting there is a feat.
  • We beat Mitchell and dropped a 4 point loss to Enka. We also beat 2A Regional Finalist Chase. Our team has been challenged and wrestled up to the challenges. 
  • Regional Tournament is at North next weekend.
3) I got a bike ride in today. 30 miles out to Etowah and back. I am not as fit as I want to be. Sean and Robert really hammered a strong pace and I couldn't keep up. Two more weeks of wrestling and hopefully I'll get more bike time. Maybe by then, the trails will dry out a little also.

4) I have been an opponent of gerrymandering for years, no matter who does the gerrymandering. I often here Republicans use the argument that the Democrats did it when they were in control. It doesn't matter. It's wrong and not democratic. And the fact is, North Carolina is the most gerrymandered state in America. Map below is NC in 2003 and then 2013.

This week, a federal court invalidated two of North Carolina's congressional districts, the 1st and 12th. In Congress, Part of Buncombe County is in a district that stretches to Gastonia! Representatives have no accountability since they are often in districts with little or no competition. And we let it happen over and over. Hopefully, this is change.

5) Near tie in Iowa for the Democrats. Bernie probably takes New Hampshire, so does that make the race interesting. Sanders has a lot of momentum. I wonder if he's electable in a general election. His best chances are probably against Cruz, who though he won Iowa, I don't see as electable as a Rubio or even Bush. I still like Kasich. Cruz is just so unlikeable. He's most popular with the far right, which doesn't necessarily make a great general election candidate.

6) Is this Martin Shkrelli the most hated man in America? Maybe. His smirk makes me want to punch him. His testimony and the reason it's going on is an example of what's wrong with our health care system. Insurance and big pharmaceuticals have pushed costs higher. Hospitals bill what insurance will pay and we pay more in higher premiums. The leading cost of personal bankruptcy is health care costs. You don't have to like Obamacare, but please don't tell me the system is fine.

7) We're in February! Black History month. Birthday Month. President's Day! Regional and State Wrestling. Beginning of track!