The Carroll wrestling team won the 4-6A district tournament this season, and coach Joe Hathaway said it took a complete team effort for the Dragons to do so.
Hathaway said he was not sure heading into the meet if his team’s lack of experience would be a major factor, but said it turned out to be a non-issue.
“The team performed very well,” Hathaway said. “We have a young group with a small number of seniors, so we have been growing and improving with every match. Their performance was an example of that growth.”
The Dragons claimed the district championship despite having just one individual championship, but Hathaway said he was not the only wrestler to have an outstanding showing.
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“Jack Duval stood out as our only district champion,” Hathaway said. “He dominated (Travis) McDonald (of Keller) in the finals, who is an accomplished opponent, and beat a state qualifier to reach the finals. Many of our wrestlers outwrestled their seeding, but freshman Jacob Doddridge came in unseeded and made a great run to a third place finish at 195.”
Hathaway was selected as the Coach of the Year in the district and was quick to give credit to his athletes for his accolade.
“Being named coach of the year is a direct reflection of our great team leaders who have worked hard all year and are the driving force behind our team,” Hathaway said. “As coaches, we provide the framework for success but only the team can make it happen. I'm very proud of this team and their commitment.”
Hathaway said that his wrestlers are extremely confident at the moment and said that he believes his team can make a big splash at the regional tournament.
“The outlook for regionals is great,” Hathaway said. “Whenever you can advance 13 wrestlers, you are immediately a contender in a team race. The regional tournament tends to expose what you have done to prepare for that moment. This team has prepared themselves to compete at this level. After that it's all about not letting someone else take what you have worked hard for.”
The regional tournament will take place Saturday at El Paso Socorro High School, and Hathaway said to have the type of meet the team wants and compete well, it will take a couple of things.
“Confidence in our preparation and our ability,” Hathaway said. “We will need to have a short memory and fight through every single match no matter the situation. I'm very excited to see our team get out there and perform. We train all year and build our schedule around being successful February. Now it's time to go get paid for all of that hard work.”