One of the state’s toughest districts for wrestling competition is likely District 4-6A, and local teams will be hard-pressed to advance to the Region II meet in February.
The district is loaded with some of the state’s best wrestlers with Carroll, Keller Central, Timber Creek, Keller and Fossil Ridge all boasting returning regional or state qualifiers.
Central has three returning state tournament placers in Jake Hart, Blaine Martinez and Demone McClinton, while Bryanna Perkins was third at state.
Of those boys placers, McClinton finished sixth at state. And in his senior season, he wants more.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
A key drawback for McClinton, though, is that he’ll no longer catch opponents by surprise after his standout season as a junior.
McClinton was a district champion and finished second at regionals.
But his sophomore year wasn’t quite as stellar.
“I was horrible,” McClinton said of his sophomore year. “I didn’t even make it out of district.”
The difference, he said, was his focus on sticking with the sport all through the offseason and summer before his junior year campaign.
He wrestled freestyle and Greco-Roman immediately after the folkstyle season ended, knowing that he had found a passion for the sport. He eventually was named to Team Texas and garnered valuable, highly-competitive matches across the country.
“I was definitely an underdog,” McClinton said coming into last year. “No one expected me to do well. I had something to prove.”
As Central entered the tough 32-team Warrior Invitational tournament in Arlington last weekend, McClinton said he’s ready to get back to work.
He spent much of the summer getting back into shape after rehabbing from a summer injury.
“I plan to take it all,” he said, referencing a state title at 138 pounds. “I’m more determined than ever.”
After Arlington, Central will travel to Austin and compete in a tri-dual meet with Westlake, San Antonio Churchill and Rouse Leander.
District 4-6A overview:
Carroll will boast 10 wrestlers who qualified for the 2014 regional meet, with three having made it to the state tournament, including Jack Duval, who finished sixth, with an additional wrestler as an alternate. Keller’s Derek Stair is a regional qualifier and Brittany Olvera was a state alternate. Timber Creek’s Jamie Patterson is a state placer and currently ranked fourth. The Falcons are stout with regional qualifiers Christian Horrigan, Chase Carter, Nathan Grimes and Darian Taylor. Austin Fox (152) was a state alternate and sophomore Rachel Bridges will return as the returning heavyweight state champion. Fossil Ridge has a returning state qualifier in Jerrod McKinstry (152) and three regional qualifiers in Devin Miller, Brendan Medlin and Frantony Lewis. Haltom has a returning regional qualifier in Tyree Smith and two girls district champs in Emalee Castro and Ally Lemmons. Byron Nelson has the state’s second-ranked 220-pounder, Tucker Olsen. Northwest, while young, will have Jason Chambers, Zack Hendricks, Jimmy Blevins and Schon Ausmann returning.