Wrestling is led better with Ledbetter


Coach Ledbetter watches two wrestlers during practice.

Michael Hebb, Sports Editor

Wrestling Coach Erik Ledbetter has his goals set higher for his team this year than last year.

With higher expectations, he obviously believes in his wrestlers’ abilities to perform even better than past seasons. He said, “Going into the year I thought we would hover right around the .500 mark as a team and that is about where we are right now, which is a huge improvement considering we only had three wins as a team in each of the last two seasons.”

Ledbetter also thinks that his team’s heart will propel them to improve on their last season. Players such as Dee Collins, James Henrich, Malik Brooks, and Matt Schoof are trying to improve upon their last season, and Coach Ledbetter said that they are “going the extra mile to reach their goals this year.”

A majority of the team’s heart and motivation comes from leader Matt Schoof, according to Ledbetter. He said of Schoof, “He sets a great example for the rest of the team by showing up to practice and never making excuses. He has been a great asset for us as coaches and we are really going to miss him next year.”

Other than Schoof’s leadership, there is another reason for the wrestling team’s drive. Coach Ledbetter said that he and the other coaches preach to their players to keep their eyes on the prize.

Even though Ledbetter believes that his wrestlers go out and give it their all, he knows that it is not the only thing that will help win matches. Coach Ledbetter said, “As coaches we not only have to prepare them for the physical part of the sport, but also the mental and psychological aspect of it too. It is easy to overlook just how much strategy there is in the sport of wrestling.”

For any other high school team, making it to State is the ultimate goal. It is the same for the wrestlers and Ledbetter, but they have some more realistic goals in mind before jumping all the way to State. Coach Ledbetter would like to have at least 5 wrestlers advance to regionals, and hopefully a couple to semi-state. So even though it is not a State championship he is asking for, these are very reachable and rewarding goals for the wrestlers, according to Ledbetter.

Ledbetter also has support from his wrestlers. Junior Dee Collins said of his coach, “I would not want anyone else to be my coach. He is the reason I am great.” The amount of confidence and pride for Coach Ledbetter from his players is obvious, and that has shown to be a big help as the team has improved from last season.

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