Welcome back, winter wrestling


JP Estrada

Freshman Chris Castillo works on his skills with fellow freshman, Jayden Egan, during wrestling practice, Nov. 3, in the mat room.

Move over fall sports, because winter sports have begun. Excitement and anticipation for the long-awaited winter sports season fuels every athlete, and wrestling is just one of the many sports destined for high energy.

“[Wrestling is] the best sport to teach life skills,” said head wrestling coach Christopher Barnhart.

After a previous season of very few matches and no spectators, this year’s season has been surrounded with commotion. Junior Nate Bushey looks forward to returning to his high school wrestling career.

“I really missed wrestling for the school the past year and cannot wait to go to tournaments and travel with my teammates,” said Nate.

Although there is plenty of excitement surrounding the start of wrestling, COVID-19 safety protocols are still something to overcome. Since wrestling is very much a contact sport and involves athletes to be in extremely close proximity to their opponents, safety is still a concern. Senior Sean Kerrigan, however, has no concerns and looks forward to some fun this winter.

“I think [the Virginia High School League] is doing a good job controlling the spread of COVID-19 with their weekly tests and proof of vaccination policy,” said Kerrigan.

Wrestling is known to be a very physically demanding sport, but players still gravitate to the sport because it fosters other life skills like humility and resilience. 

“I enjoy how wrestling combines both creativity and physical ability. Although much of wrestling is strength and endurance, you must also be able to outsmart your opponent,” said Kerrigan.

Nate Bushey particularly enjoys the unified family atmosphere that the team shares.

“Being with these boys hours after school and at tournaments forms bonds. I know that these boys got my back, and they know I’ve got theirs,” said Nate.

At the recent WRAL Invitational tournament at Knightdale High School in Raleigh, NC, the team came in third place out of 52 teams.