Wrestling to make cuts for first time

Wrestling+has+experienced+success+with+individual+wrestlers+placing+at+national+competitions.+Junior+wrestler+Jordan+Robison+recently+earned+preseason+All-America+honors+in+Cedar+Falls%2C+Iowa.+
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Wrestling to make cuts for first time

Wrestling has experienced success with individual wrestlers placing at national competitions. Junior wrestler Jordan Robison recently earned preseason All-America honors in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Wrestling has experienced success with individual wrestlers placing at national competitions. Junior wrestler Jordan Robison recently earned preseason All-America honors in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Wrestling has experienced success with individual wrestlers placing at national competitions. Junior wrestler Jordan Robison recently earned preseason All-America honors in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Wrestling has experienced success with individual wrestlers placing at national competitions. Junior wrestler Jordan Robison recently earned preseason All-America honors in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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Wrestling faces R.L. Turner and McKinney in their first dual meet at home Thursday at 6 p.m. Wrestling’s success in the past several years has brought attention to the program as 92 students are currently on the team, a number the coaches say is almost too high to manage. For the first time in school history, the wrestling coaches are going to have to make cuts.

“Wrestling is a very tough sport, and one that usually people are hesitant to try,” head coach Jason Thurston said. “Success always breeds success, and I think more kids are coming out because of the success we’ve been having.  So our numbers are higher than they have ever been, but our facilities and budget don’t allow for all of our kids that came out to remain in the program.”

I have to be honest: the idea of cutting a kid from wrestling, knowing how it can help a kid in life, has been the hardest thing I’ve had to tackle in my 12 years of coaching.”

— Jason Thurston

The wrestling coaches believe in the potential of their athletes and are working to turn that potential into progress. They have avoided turning kids away for years, but due to simple travel inconveniences, the time has come for change.

“I have to be honest: the idea of cutting a kid from wrestling, knowing how it can help a kid in life, has been the hardest thing I’ve had to tackle in my 12 years of coaching,” Thurston said.

This coaching philosophy, although controversial, has contributed to the team’s success in ways that can’t be recorded with facts and figures.

“It might go against everything coaching suggests, keeping those kids,” Brennan said. “But I remember, when we played Centennial for the title last year and the team was really tense, the whole team looked up in the stands and saw one of our wrestlers, who’s just not the most talented of the group, jamming out to his music, providing comic relief and calming the team. Everyone relaxed and we went on to win it all.”

The team’s growth in members has not only increased the quantity of wrestlers but has also made a notable impact on the quality of wrestlers and and that of the team as a whole.

“The growth of the program is amazing for the sport of wrestling as a whole,” senior wrestler Tamara Pavich said. “More people are getting exposed to the sport while programs are dying all over the country. It’s also nice that more people saw what we’ve done the last few years and want to be a part of it.”

Cuts have not yet been made, but at least thirteen athletes will have to be removed from the program shortly in order for the team to find success this season.

“It’s hard to practice sometimes,” senior wrestler Ryan Johnston said. “But the large numbers allow each wrestler to experience different styles of wrestling to help improve everyone’s skill level.”

This story was updated (11-20-15 at 11:08 a.m.) to reflect a change in one of the opponents Thurday.