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. 

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