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HHS wrestlers look ahead to new season

Hartselle High School’s varsity wrestling team will open a new season on Fri., Nov. 28, with high expectations thanks to the return of all but one team member from a year ago.

The team’s first competition will come in the Early Bird Duals at Scottsboro High School.

The JV Tigers opened their season Saturday at Huntsville High School, finishing fourth among 12 teams and claiming six individual medals.

“We have a veteran group of wrestlers as well as several young wrestlers with the potential to develop into winners,” said third year head coach Matt Watson. “Several of our guys qualified and placed in state competition last year and expectations are high for them.”

Watson said a strong off-season program of weight lifting and conditioning enabled his wrestlers to make big strides preparing for the upcoming season.

“We’re seeing the benefits of their focus and work ethic as the season approaches,” Watson added.

Junior David Dunford is stepping up as a team leader after finishing second in the 132-lb. class at the state tournament last season.

“He’s an extremely hard worker,” said Watson, “and a good role model for our young wrestlers. They see in him what an individual can accomplish through dedication and hard work.”

“Getting so close to winning a state championship last year has made me work even harder in the off-season,” Dunford said. “The difference in this year’s team and last year’s is everyone is looking to improve. The tempo is up. We want our team to be the best ever.”

Working with Watson as assistant coaches are Marc Waynick, team coordinator, Brad Gray and newcomer Dennis Smith.

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