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FCHS wrestling team preps to challenge competitors, by Mari-Alice Jasper, Courier staff

the Fort Campbell Courier
Fort Campbell, KY | November 22, 2016

  • Photos by Mari-Alice Jasper | Courier

Fort Campbell Wrestling Team captain Corbin Ryder, senior, wrestles with his teammate, Rey Vela, during practice Nov. 15 at the 5th Special Forces Group Combatives Room. The wrestlers will compete in their first tournament of the season Dec. 3 at the Reltz Hill Classic in Evansville, Indiana.    

The smell of sweat lingered in the hallway and clamoring of grunts and shouts echoed throughout the 5th Special Forces Group Combative Room as members of the Fort Campbell High School Wrestling Team practiced.

With less than two weeks before their first tournament of the season, Anthony Shingler, FCHS wrestling team head coach, said the team is practicing tirelessly to be successful this season.

“We are working hard, but our kids are also having a lot of fun,” Shingler said. “These kids understand what it takes to get where they want to go. They’re in here busting their butt every day, putting the work in.”

Shingler said the team this year is comprised of 17 members, with 14 of them returning from last year’s season, eight of which are seniors. He suspects this may be the largest senior group they have had during a season.

“There’s a good chunk of the team that has wrestled and has some experience,” he said. “They know what’s going on.”

Last year the team suffered because several members suffered significant injuries sustained during the season. Shingler said to reduce injuries this season the coaching staff has emphasized the importance of stretching and cooling down before and after practice.

“Our goal this year is just to finish,” he said. “Our season last year was just a freak year with injuries. We had injury after injury. Significant injuries. Major injuries.”

Team captain Corbin Ryder, senior, is one of the athletes who sustained a major injury last season – he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Ryder said although the recovery was difficult he was thrilled when the doctor cleared him for wrestling in August.

“I started out pretty slow and was into it pretty lightly, but now I’m wrestling all out and I’m at 100 percent right now. I just need my brace and I’m good to go.”

Ryder started wrestling when he was in the seventh grade and became team captain in the 10th grade. He said the atmosphere on the mat during tournaments and the wrestling community is what continues to draw him to the sport.

“It’s just you and your opponent out there,” he said. “Your success or failure is all you. Just all of the hard work and effort that goes into it. When you win it feels great, but when you lose it just tells you more about yourself and who you really are.”

Ryder said during his six-year wrestling career he has learned many values and life lessons including leadership and a strong work ethic. He said practice this season has tested him, but his teammates have pushed him to do his best.  “Practice so far this season has started really well,” he said. “Everyone in the room is pushing each other to just get better and better. We’ve been going pretty hard. Everyone is putting in the work and the ethic to be successful.”

Louie Regalado, senior, said practices so far have focused on technique. He said they also are working to improve speed, strength and endurance.

“My goal is to work my hardest to try and do well and hopefully go to college on a wrestling scholarship,” he said. “I want to win a state championship this year.”

Regalado said he is determined to complete his final season of high school wrestling with less than five losses. He said his speed on the mat sets him apart from his competitors, but he struggles if his opponent is able to get him on the ground.

“I sometimes have a hard time getting back up,” he said. “But I’m working on it this year to try and get up faster and hopefully not let anyone hold me down.”

Regalado said the best thing about wrestling is that it is an individual sport. With wrestling, you reap what you sow, he said.  

“I just like competing and winning,” he said. “I like the aggression. You can’t blame anyone else for your mistakes. Basically, the work you put into it – at practice and during the off season and preseason – is going to show during a match.”

The FCHS wrestling team will compete in the first tournament of the season, Dec 3. at the Reitz Hill Classic in Evansville, Indiana.

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