By GREG WEBB
To say the Weatherford Lady Roos wrestling team have left a good impression in its inaugural year would be an understatement... and the season is not quite over just yet. With 15 girls, mostly underclassmen, on the squad at the end of the season, a couple of those earned spots in the Class 5A State Tournament, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Austin.
“I think our girls did really well, this year,” said Weatherford head coach Read Sanders. “It was their first year and we have a lot of really young girls on the team, but I didn’t coach them like they were first-year wrestlers.
“I took the approach that they were returners and they were going to win.”
Sanders, who took over the head coaching job for the wrestling team this year, has seen the growth of the program at Weatherford for the past six years, coaching with Eric Dobey.
Sanders and Dobey both pushed to get the girls wrestling program launched, which came to fruition and has already reaped benefits.
Taylor Marsh, competing in the 102-pound class and Bethany Jackson, in the 148-pound division, are set to compete in Austin on Thursday, and hoping to advance through to the Saturday brackets. Both, befitting the youth of the WHS squads, are sophomores.
“I think all of our teams have done well, this season,” Sanders said. “Especially considering how young we still are.
“[Taylor and Bethany] both just really like to win, and they have shown that all year long, so I think their mind-sets are in the right place going down to the state tournament.”
Sanders is extremely optimistic about the Weatherford wrestling program. With more than 50 boys on the JV and varsity squads, most of the contingent will be back next year, and tell the coach they will be bringing someone with them.
The WHS varsity boys also qualified wrestlers for the state meet, with Teancum Payne and Nester Oveido earning slots as alternates.
Taking over as head coach, Sanders cedes that the additional pressure he has felt may well be self-induced, pushing to grow and improve the wrestling program.
A team visit to regionals and state qualifiers implies a push in the right direction.