By: Emma Shinn
This year, the wrestling team is looking forward to a possible “history making” season, according to senior wrestler Jarred Burdette. “Not only do we have the potential to beat the number 1 team, Parkersburg South,” Burdette said, “but we could also bring home the state title this year.”
Among those helping the 23-member squad work toward that State title win are team stars and former state champions Jarred Simpkins, a junior, and Adam Bicak and David Hicks, both seniors. A few wrestlers who have been deemed “people to watch” by our returning champions are Burdette, juniors Nate Starkey and Daryl Hicks, and freshman Jake Martin. Also leading the team is Coach Matt Smith, a Ripley High graduate and former State Champion in wrestling himself.
The season began November 14, and extends through February 25, which is the last day of state competitions. Official practices have been held every day since the start of the season except for Sundays and Thanksgiving. Prior to that, some members of the team attended summer practices as well.
The team works extremely hard and requires a great deal of dedication. According to Burdette, the most challenging part of the wrestling season is simply “keeping everyone on the team focused and working to improve every day.”
However, many (if not all) of the boys would say that the rigorous training is worth it. For Burdette, the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of the sport is watching all the hard work pay off on the mat.
The first wrestling meet of this season was the South Parkersburg Quad, held December 3. Ripley defeated Buckhannon-Upshur and Cabell Midland, but was unfortunately beaten by Parkersburg South. The team took 2nd place overall. Our boys also beat out Huntington in their second meet, defeating the team that had previously been ranked one place above them.