By Nick Kivi & Megan Bartlett
managing photo & staff writer
For sophomore DHS wrestling Captain John Hollingshead and the rest of the team, practice doesn’t exactly start off slow.
“A normal practice we’ll lift for half an hour before practice actually starts,” Hollingshead said. “Then we’ll run ten minutes on the track upstairs with stairs, then we’ll do piggyback rides up the stairs three to five times, then we’ll wheelbarrow up the stairs three to five times. That’s pretty much our warm up right there.”
The grueling workouts every day are essential for a young team looking to gain a competitive edge. Two hours of practice is necessary. After losing several seniors last year, upperclassmen are a minority on the team this year with only five of them. With a lot of inexperience, expectations may vary, but Hollingshead has confidence in the team.
“We’re mostly freshman, so we don’t have super high expectations, but there’s always an expectation that we can win because we put in all the time and the effort,” Hollingshead said.
His coach and father, Gary Hollingshead, hopes to coach his team to districts and win Valleys this year. Last February, the team won their first Valley title in 24 years. This year brings a lot of anticipation to repeat last year’s success.
“My expectations are high,” Gary said. “Looking at the rest of the year we should be able to finish with about 500 as a team. I think it’s possible for us to win team districts.”
Among those who made varsity this year is freshman Brandon Viehl. Viehl rests assured that even the new freshman on the team can pull through with practice.
“Right now we are 14 and nine as a team, two losses,” Viehl said. “We’re young but the guys work really hard. They’re putting in as much effort as I ask of them, even more at time. It’s going pretty well for how young we are.”
There are ways to increase the team’s ability to stay in their matches longer.
“We’re doing decent but we just need to work harder in the wrestling room, because we’re getting pushed around by the bigger people,” junior Co-captain Patrick Bassett said.
Gary sees the leadership qualities his son and Bassett possess.
“This season’s looking pretty good,” Gary said. “Bassett and John are kind of leading the team right now, and the younger guys are following their advice. I think they both stand a good chance of making it through to the individual state championships.”
Basset looks at wrestling as not only something to do in high school, but something to look forward to in the future. He also holds a personal goal to place in states this year.
“I want to go to Notre Dame which doesn’t have a wrestling team, but has a club team,” Bassett said. “I’m thinking about joining the club team there if I make it in. He also holds a personal goal to place in states this year.”
Being Captains, Hollingshead and Basset train all year. Over the summer, a two week intensive camp at CMU helped them achieve a new level of skill they wouldn’t have reached otherwise. Both spent six hours each day learning new moves and competing in practice meets.
“It was huge, before all those camps I sucked,” John said. “After going to those camps, I was actually pretty good.”
In addition to the two week camp, John and Bassett would spend 3 hours at CMU every Sunday working on their moves with CMU’S head coach. Working hard is a large component to being the push an up and coming team needs.
“[Being captain] shows that everyone on the team is looking up to me, and I take that as a privilege,” Basset said. “I just do the best I can to be a good captain.”
Gary agrees and thinks that the hard work his team is going to have a good payoff.
“It’s going to require full effort from everyone on the team, but we already beat Midland High and Central,” Gary said. “The light at the tunnel is kind of bright and I think that we can do it.”