Photos courtesy Jessie Otten
The EP Panther middle school wrestling team began their truncated season on Tuesday night with a dual meet against Riverdale at the Erie Middle School Gym.
No team scores were kept, which underscores one of the many differences the team will experience this season.
Head coach Kyle Foster says he is thankful that the grapplers will get to see action on the mat despite the many obstacles the season is presenting. “Our coaching staff is so thankful for getting this chance to give these kids as much of an opportunity as possible. Our primary goal with this abbreviated season is to get kids as much mat time as we possibly can,” said Foster.
The team will have six meets including one triangular during the month of April. Foster expressed the importance of not missing an opportunity. “We are so excited that the kids get any type of season this year. It’s really important that they don’t miss out on a full year of work, especially for the eighth graders who will be moving up to the high school ranks next year.”
In some cases Panther teammates will wrestle each other in meets due to the small numbers that some opposing squads will field. “We are just matching kids up to get the best possible competition for them as we can. Ideally, each kid will get to wrestle each night, but that’s not always possible, so we’re working to get them the experience, which is what really matters,” added Foster.
While it may be a short and out of normal time frame season Foster says two key elements are being stressed. “We are making a point to emphasize the fundamentals and to keep the sport fun for the kids.”