Wrestling Embarks on the Upcoming Season

Despite challenges with COVID, the CHS wrestling team secures their passionate team for the upcoming season.

Chloe Clendenin, Author

Chesterton High School’s wrestling program is one that has a storied tradition and takes a lot of dedication to be a part of. Last year, in 2019, Chesterton High School broke a school record by sending 8 individual wrestlers to state. The team finished in 8th place, with Evan Bates finishing as state champion. This season, as with other sports, COVID has drastically shifted things and their regular routine. 

Wrestling is a sport featuring extremely close contact, so it is very uncertain, at this point, how the upcoming season will go. Wrestlers will now have to wear masks all throughout practice, and they are taking extra precautions to make sure everyone stays safe. All tournaments in Illinois for the 2020-2021 season are canceled, and with the rise of COVID cases in the state and midwest, more tournaments will likely be canceled as well. 

All wrestling matches this season are going to happen much differently than in the past. Wrestlers must wear a mask while wrestling their opponent and during practices. There will be no contact between wrestlers, referees, and coaches like shaking hands, a wrestling tradition. Social distancing and other precautions are still being planned out and implemented as they haven’t had a match yet this season. 

Aside from COVID affecting the normality of the season, it looks to be a very promising one for CHS this year. The team has 8 practices throughout the week, including one on Saturday. They have been training all summer as well, but as the season approaches, training has become more intense. Their first meet is on the weekend of Thanksgiving, therefore they are practicing more and preparing for this season-opening match. 

 “I honestly expect to have one of the best seasons in CHS history. Our team has 8 pre-season ranked wrestlers, and I can’t remember a time with more than 5 or 6. As a team, we have the same goal, state champions, and we really are training with the mindset that we will achieve that goal and nothing less,” said senior Brock Ellis.

 Having previous state champion, Evan Bates, on the team, raises the stakes for individual wrestlers, but it also makes the season look very promising for the team overall. All of the wrestlers on the team have a passion for the sport and all want to meet their personal goals as well as team goals.

”I look forward to being back with my team and making a big state-run with the amazing team we have,” junior Gage Demarco added. 

Similar to other sports like football and basketball, wrestling is a team sport. While your individual performance is very important, there’s an added pressure to succeed individually so that the team succeeds. A common misconception is that wrestling is an individualized sport because, during a match, it’s 1v1, however, if one individual doesn’t do as well, it can affect the whole team and possibly cause them to not move on to the next meet. Practice and commitment is a huge part of wrestling, among other things. 

“Be prepared to fail and the earlier you give up the farther away you drift from being the best of the best.” said sophomore, Aidan Torres. 

Wrestling requires an insane amount of dedication and passion for the sport. If you don’t set goals for yourself and push yourself to meet your goals, it’s harder to succeed. 

“We are grateful for our opportunity just to be able to practice, so coming in with a good attitude is a must even if you aren’t feeling great,” stated Ellis. 

Along with dedication and passion, the sport requires a mental toughness that other sports lack. The sport constantly makes you push yourself harder and harder whether it’s the practice or an actual tournament. 

“What you put into the sport is what you’re going to get out of it,” added defending state champion, Evan Bates. 

As previously stated, COVID is shifting the season and negatively affecting the way things normally go, however, with our team this year, this upcoming season looks very promising. The team we have is very dedicated and passionate about doing their best and winning state championships in February.