By: Lee Ramsey
After winning the IMAC in his first year at Seymour two years ago and finishing runner-up last season, Eagles wrestling Coach Alex Cate is ready to build on the teams past success this upcoming season.
While Cate and his team are ready to start, it won’t be an easy task to replace super senior Luke Hall from last year, as well as seniors Caleb Stoffle and Shane Shipley who along with then junior Trent Williams went to the state AAA individual competition.
Williams (145) will be back this season as a senior and should have a big impact on the team’s success.
Cate said he believes the team overall will be better this season with not as many individual standouts, but a more balanced team from top to bottom.
“We should be better as a team,” he said. “We should be more even and balanced. Last year our upper weight kids were young and it was hard for them to adjust.
“This year they will be more experienced and the light weights will be young, but it’s easier for light weights to adjust more so than heavy weights.”
As far as conditioning, everyone on the team who didn’t play football ran cross country for SHS. They also lifted weights and participated in conditioning wrestling.
Besides Williams, the other senior wrestler wearing the blue and gold this season will be Branden Hawker at 170 pounds.
The team will also be strong with plenty of junior support – Chris Hinshaw (120), Willie Stooksbury (138), Jacob Loveday (182), Timmy Maher (220) and Dillon Baldwin (195).
As for upcoming wrestlers to watch, Cate mentioned first year sophomore Chris Poore in the 106 weight class, as well as freshman heavyweight Drew Cannon at 265.
Seymour’s youth wrestling program is very strong beginning at the age of five and it is reflected in the high school performance. It starts early and continues all the way through middle school into high school with the help of volunteers.
“Our goal is to win the district and to make it to the state as a team,” said Cate about the upcoming season. “We made it as individuals last year but not as a team like we did two years ago. We want to get back to that. We’ll have a pretty good start.
“The teams like South-Doyle, Heritage, William Blount and Maryville will be tough. Those are the teams we will be competing with. Individually our goal will be to make it to the state for those who haven’t before.”
Cate, like all coaches, is excited and ready to get started at this time of the season.
“We’re ready to start beating up on other people instead of ourselves,” he said.
The first match for the Eagles will be the Pigeon Forge Takedown Tourney then William Blount away on Nov. 22.
Wrestling Team Ready for Success
By: Lee Ramsey