The Central wrestling team is impressing many and can overwhelm the rest once a full lineup is in place.
The Chargers are 5-2 in dual matches overall and 3-1 versus district opponents. They’ve been able to forge that record in spite of having to forfeit as many as four weight classes.
Central just took home a top team title at Rockwall Invitational tournament in addition to collecting fourth place at Arlington and sixth at the Outback Invitational at Weatherford and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw tournament.
At Arlington, the first tournament of the season, the Chargers were operating with just six of the 14 weight classes.
“The kids we are taking are doing great,” said Central head coach Bill Wilson. “We should be full strength by the district duals. Some kids will have less than 10 matches, though,” he said.
Some of the upper weights will be occupied by Central football players who were tied up with an extended season into the playoffs, in addition to limited practice time due to weather.
Central took likely their strongest lineup to the Rockwall tournament last Saturday, which was rescheduled due to the weather a few weeks ago. Because of the new date, some teams originally scheduled to compete may be holding out because of the holiday and others added at the last moment, shaking up the field. Central wasn’t originally planning to compete in the normally tough field, but Wilson felt the extended holiday break warranted an opportunity to get more mat time. The Chargers were at the top with Arlington in the round-robin format and were only missing one weight class.
Among the Chargers already having a strong season is Dillon Faucet, who is undefeated at 12-0 at 145 pounds.
Brothers Kareem and Qu’ron Simms are also again impressive in their appearances.
Kareem has just one loss and has appeared in the finals of every tournament. He has been competing at 132, but Wilson said when all the slots are occupied, Kareem may be down to 126 or even 120. He won the Rockwall event.
After the New Year, all weight classes will enjoy a two-pound growth allowance.
Qu’ron is wrestling just a little heavier than his brother and is presenting challenges to his opponents, Wilson said.
“Qu’ron is hard to wrestle,” he said. “He’s so long and he’s showing things other kids haven’t seen.”
Blaine Martinez, Josh Carerro and Nick Tice have also been noted by Wilson for their performances thus far. John Bowen, 171, has helped with a tie for first at Rockwall.
Martinez lost a tight match in the finals of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw tournament and had beaten a state champion over the course of the summer tournament circuit. He also claimed a title at Rockwall.
Carerro was not able to wrestle last season as he was a transfer, but is 10-8 so far this season and has won some crucial matches for Central. “That’s part of the reason why we’re 5-2,” Wilson added.
Tice has been a tournament placer in each outing, including second at Rockwall.
The biggest weapon not yet unleashed for Central is the potential in another transfer, Ryan Lindberg, who will wrestle at either 106 or 113.
Lindberg was a preseason All-American in Iowa, Wilson said, before having to sit out last season. He didn’t disappoint in his first time out at Rockwall, picking up a championship at 113.
Historically, Central seems to start strong and then loses momentum at the qualifying tournaments.
“We normally come out of the gate hard and then fizzle at the end,” Wilson said. “For whatever reason, we’ve had a tough time getting kids on the mat. We need to get to the district tournament with everyone in place. We haven’t come out strong for various reasons, but we’ll be full strength at the end.”
Wilson said there hasn’t been just one reason for the skeleton lineup, including the missing football athletes. “It’s been family issues, illness, injury, grades, family vacations,” Wilson listed. “But the young kids are stepping up and I’m happy about being 5-2 right now.
The only losses in duals for Central were a close decision to Carroll and another to Flower Mound Marcus.
The increased participation is only heightening the optimism at Central.
“We expect to win districts,” Wilson said. “It’ll be the best team we’ve had if we can get kids on the mat. But I feel good about where we stand.”
Winning the district duals and the district tournament in back-to-back weeks will be quite a feat this year.
Keller has shown they also have a solid lineup and Carroll is the three-time defending champions. Fossil Ridge has been showing strength as well.
“Keller is very balanced,” Wilson said. “When you wrestle Keller, you’re going to get a quality opponent. Fossil Ridge has a great lineup and is surprising some people.
“We’ll have to match quantity,” Wilson said of the district competitions down the stretch. “We have the quality.”
Central qualified seven wrestlers for the regional tournament out of the district last year and Wilson said they should be able to up that total this year.