Wrestlers back on mats after long layoff
January 15, 2011
ANSBACH, Germany – The month-long holiday break that was even longer for some teams unable to travel because of snow was a bad thing and a good thing for wrestlers on six teams that met in Ansbach on Saturday for their first tournament of the new year.
It was bad because some wrestlers were participating in just their second matches of the season and their endurance was not where they wanted it to be. Most wrestlers were all idle the first weekend after school resumed so coaches could work on whipping them back into shape and making sure they didn’t come out flat. Some participated in the Kaiserslautern Takedown Tournament.
For Hohenfels sophomore Jonathan Whitford, the winter break meant more practice, which helped lead him to a first-place finish in a competitive 135-pound bracket.
Whitford, competing in his first wrestling season and starting the season with a 0-5 record, pinned two of the top contenders in the group after looking like he might lose both matches early. He then pinned DeMar Flake of Ansbach in 1 minute, 20 seconds into their championship bout.
“I feel great,” Whitford said when asked about his first tournament win. He credited his coaches and teammates for his success. “I practiced well, and just did what I practiced.”
“I was a little bit tired,” he added, blaming the long break between matches. “But the extra practice made it worth it.”
Hohenfels coach Todd Laverents was excited about Whitford’s results and the overall performance of his team — which finished third in the six-team field — despite their inexperience. He said 75 percent of the team is wrestling for the first time this season.
“I am so so pleased with how they are doing, listening and working very hard at practice,” he said.
One of Laverents’ wrestlers was involved in what several spectators considered the best match of the day, when Vilseck’s Remington Edwards defeated Drew Martin in overtime in the 125-pound class. Edwards pinned Martin after the two battled to a 14-14 tie at the end of three two-minute periods.
Edwards was happy to beat Martin, who he says always got the best of him in their cross country match-ups. “It was really hard. That was probably the hardest match,” he said. “That was a big confidence booster for me to beat him.”
Edwards finished second in his weight class, behind teammate Zane Kennedy, while Martin finished third.
Vilseck won the team competition with 115 points, followed by Heidelberg with 98, Hohenfels with 87, Ansbach with 65, Bamberg with 28 and Mannheim with 7.