The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 15, 2013

Future looks brighter for EHS wrestling

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Leftovers from this week’s notebook hip-hopping the Enid sports scene.

Some hope for the future of Enid High School wrestling.

Middle school/junior high coach Tony Peters reported his team started with 50 participants and ended up with 30.

“That’s a really good retention rate,’’ he said. “The usual rate is less than half.’’

Peters said he hoped to have 12 to 15 of his wrestlers move up to the high school team as freshmen next year.

That would be a significant number for a sport that relies heavily on numbers.

The Plainsmen only had three seniors on this year’s team — and only two — Jake Scott and Hunter Nixon — wrestled all four years.

Another sign of progress in wrestling.

The two middle school assistants — Kyle Blackburn and ex-EHS wrestler Brice Benge — were both volunteers who had full-time jobs.

“We’re fortunate that we have young guys that love the sport so much that they’re willing to put the hours in that they do,’’ Dick said. “They showed up every day ready to go.’’

The foundation of any successful high school program is built in middle school. The more coaches available, the more wrestlers have a chance to develop before they get there.

Too often in the past, EHS has had to rely on wrestlers who have never wrestled before.

The increased interest in the team, Dick said, could be seen in the Plainsmen’s trip to the Texas Duals in Dallas. EHS had more fans than most of the local teams there.

“That’s about all we were talking about on the way home,’’ Dick said.

• One could sense at the EHS swimming banquet how much fun those kids had.

Swimmers Jeremy Crise and Michael Johnson tried to put some levity into things to pass time when there were some problems with the team video.

Jay Leno or David Letterman has nothing to worry about, but still I liked the joke: Why did the cookie go to the hospital ... it felt crummy.’’

Assistant coach Cindy Moore got to tell her brush with greatness – getting to meet Duck Dynasty’s John Godwin at a hotel this year.

EHS swim coach Ginny Shipley made a significant point when talking about the handicaps the Pacers and Plainsmen have with a small team (19 combined on the boys and girls teams).

Edmond North, she said, had four placers in every event but two at state.

“It is tough for us to compete,’’ Shipley said. “But I’m very proud of how these kids competed. I think we were able to accomplish some things that people didn’t think we would.’’

One was the boys qualifying all three relays for state in a rebuilding year and having Gabe Sanchez place 15th at the 100 back (1:01.53) and 16th at the 100 free (51.6).

“I was wondering what we were going to do with half the boys having graduated, but the kids who came back, and the new kids, really stepped up,’’ Shipley said.

Of Enid’s 10 first-year letter winners in swimming, three swam in the state championships.

Some other things about sports banquets — the videos are getting better. The wrestling video, produced by Corey Clayton and Susan Glasgow, was the best this reporter has seen. The swim video produced some good memories and some laughs with pictures of seniors when they were growing up.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.