The wrestling season is already well underway, and all six LISD teams participated in the Hill Country Invitational at Vista Ridge Dec. 16.
Vandegrift won the meet with 205 points and had eight wrestlers come in the top three of their respective weight classes. Leander finished fifth overall with 147 points, Cedar Park (147) finished ninth, Vista Ridge (97) came in 11th, while Glenn and Rouse tied for 16th with 76 points.
“I’m really excited about this season because we’ve got some seasoned wrestlers,” Vista Ridge coach David Burdick said. “Last we had a lot of kids that didn’t have a lot of mat time, so they took their lumps. They’re developing tow here we could compete for a district championship.”
Burdick said last year, there were one freshman and three sophomores in the lineup and it’s easier to make mistakes that cost them matches. But through that process they start to learn the little things that it takes to turn a pin into a close match.
He highlighted Troy Smith, who finished fourth at the Hill Country Invitational at 106 pounds, and Kelby Davis, who won the 195-pound division, as two potential state qualifiers from the Rangers.
Burdick said the process of maintaining strength and weight in high school is about discipline and checking weight on a daily basis. They also work out in the athletic period and condition to help keep things stable.
“They can’t go out and get a Triple Whataburger,” he said. “That’s what they want to do. It’s part of the maturity. Part of wrestling is learning that sacrifice and self-discipline.”
Cedar Park’s win was highlighted by a victory by freshman Gage Foulds in the 106.5-pound division and a second place finish in the 220-pound class Levi Bell, who was a state qualifier last season.
“We’ve got a couple kids that have been wrestling for three or four years,” Cedar Park head coach Nick Asmus said. “Our goal is the district championship, and we’ve got the kids in the right places to go for it.”
He said the team’s strength is in some of the upper weight classes. In the middleweights, there are some kids out with injuries that he expects to do well but there are still others that are fighting hard.
For a high schooler to commit to wrestling, he said there’s something different that needs to happen mentally.
“It takes a lot more focus,” Asmus said. “They’re usually catching busses at 4:30 a.m. on Saturdays just to spend entire day in a hot gym. It’s a good test in time management because you can’t always pull your English book out in the middle of a gym.”