A blend of confidence and sweat describes the air about Commerce High School’s wrestling team, which hosts its first meet against Mill Creek and East Jackson on Nov. 29.
Sixth-year coach Kendall Love spoke well of his team, which includes nearly 30 wrestlers. Many of the returning members contributed to the Tigers’ successful 2010-2011campaign. The team won an area championship last season, was the 2011 state runner-up in duals and placed third overall in the traditional.
“Our returning starters should do really well this season,” Love said. “And the rest, they are out to prove they can wrestle.”
He mentioned sophomore Chase McClure who earned a state last year title in the 189-pound weight class as a key athlete to watch.
“He will be up higher-weight class this year. He’s big-time,” Love said. “He’s really, really tough. He has a great shot to do it again.”
Junior Josh Westmoreland, sophomores Greyson Cochran and Morgan Flint and freshman Trent Reddish are among those expected to fare well. Cochran finished sixth in the 135-pound class at the Class A meet and Westmoreland placed fifth in the 130-pound class last year.
However, they will have to overcome the loss of four seniors to graduation as well as a couple more departures. Four of the six — including graduates Sergio Rojas and Addison Davis — finished fifth or better in state competition.
“It feels like six starters are gone with the two deciding not to compete this year,” Love said.
During a recent practice, the team members present drilled for more than an hour on what Love described as the team’s core moves.
Not a lot of time is spent on basics, thanks in large part to healthy youth and the Commerce Middle School programs.
“We’re starting to see now where they come in prepared,” Love said. “It used be we had to teach them from scratch.”
“We placed in top four, five out of five years (coaching),” Love said. “They are starting to learn what it takes to be competitive. “This is a good group.”