Wrestling has never been considered a summer sport, but that hasn’t stopped a handful of area wrestlers from staying on the mat and earning accolades and awards.
For Carroll wrestlers, head coach Joe Hathaway is the beneficiary of a strong club program, Lone Star Elite, which has been producing a steady stream of talent. Coaches Joe Comparin and Jared Haberman have been leading the club program for the last few years.
And those taking advantage of the extra mat time have included Jack Duval, who Hathaway noted as the most decorated wrestler over the offseason.
“The guys have been doing really well this year and staying involved in the summer,” Hathaway said.
Duval, a junior this year for the Dragons, was second at the Brut Nationals in April and won both the freestlye and Greco events at the Cadet State tournament. He was also third at the Cadet duals in Florida.
Zach Francis, another junior, had injured a knee toward the end of the season just prior to the district tournament. But he’s back on the mat now and went to the finals in the state Greco tournament. Francis competed at the Fargo Nationals recently and met more than one nationally-ranked wrestler in a short-lived run in the brackets.
Hathaway noted Clay Vincent, yet another junior-to-be this year, has had a good off-season and has won a lot of his freestyle and Greco matches. He came up one match shy of placing at the state meet in Greco.
Sophomore twins Adam and Aron Lindberg have been following older brother Ryan during the summer, as well.
Ryan, a senior and captain of the Dragons, was sixth at the Brut Nationals in the spring.
Another junior making the most of his summer wrestling while also preparing for football is Lucas Tribble. The heavyweight has been getting wrestling workouts in while also focusing on his preseason conditioning as an offensive tackle. Quinn Pike is a sophomore heavyweight who has also been wrestling during the summer months.
Lone Star Elite also competed as a team at the recent Mid Summer Mat Bash dual tournament hosted by Northwest. The 32-team event drew squads from nine states.
Baron Walsh had some standout performances at the Mat Bash, including wins over highly-ranked Texas wrestlers as well as a Florida state placer.
“All these juniors and seniors joined the club when we first started the middle school program,” Hathaway explained. “It’s really competitive at the high school level now. Whatever their sport, the biggest issue is just be a competitor,” Hathaway added.
Southlake isn’t the only area program with summer matmen.
Grapevine’s Blake Andrews, a recent state champ at 220 pounds, is preparing for his entry into Ouchita Baptist in the fall, where he’ll join his older brother, Jacob, on the Tigers squad.
Andrews is a two-time state freestyle champion and a three-time state Greco-Roman champ. He had garnered USAW Cadet Freestyle All-American honors last year.
Competing at the ultra-tough Fargo Nationals in July this summer, Andrews finished 12th in Greco and 10th in freestyle, just missing another All-American selection.
“Little mistakes got me beat,” Andrews said. He wrestled at heavyweight at the national meet – a weight he plans to compete at in the college ranks as he continues to add size.
Andrews noted in his freshman year at Grapevine, he wrestled at 145. In his sophomore year he grew into the 160 class and his junior year he was state runner-up at 182. His state title at 220 in his senior year had him reflecting on his growth of almost 100 pounds in four years.
Also wrestling at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma City at 220, Andrews has been a member of Team Texas for several events. He went 6-2 in his Greco matches and 3-0 in freestyle before holding out due to a fracture sustained in his hand.
Andrews’ younger brother Bryan also went to Fargo but suffered a back injury after collecting four wins in the Greco division and one match in freestyle. He will wrestle at 195 for the Mustangs this year.