Lofty goals for Trojan wrestling
Last season the Chase wrestling team advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA playoffs, while several team members qualified for the state tournament. This year coach Adam Dedmon has even bigger plans.
“Our goal is to win a state championship,” said Dedmon. “I have very high expectations for this team. I think this is one of the strongest teams top to bottom we have had at Chase in years.”
The strength of the Trojans will certainly be tested as they go to the mat with some of the toughest programs in the state.
“I scheduled tougher tournaments and matches this season on purpose,” said Dedmon. “We are going to be facing the best competition in the state and that is going to make us better and stronger. Hopefully the tough schedule will get us prepared for the end of the year so we can compete for that state title.”
Since Chase is competing in high profile tournaments and duel matches, they will be on the road for almost the entire season. The Trojans have just one match set for their home gym in 2012-13.
“It’s hard not wrestling at home,” said Dedmon. “The team loves to perform in front of the fans, but we will just have to look at it as another challenge.”
One of the most important factors in winning a team title in high school wrestling is the ability to field competitors in all weight classes. Chase has that depth.
“There are 14 weight classes and I had 36 wrestlers come out this season,” said Dedmon. “I don’t see depth as an issue this season. Because we are so deep, I think it creates competition in practice which will only make us better this season and give younger wrestlers experience for the future.”
While the Trojans future looks bright, Dedmon is focused on this season and with good reason. Josh Stephens returns for his senior season after finishing third in the state at 145 lbs last year.
“I expect Josh to win a state title this year,” said Dedmon. “He came so close last year and he traveled all over the country this summer to get better. You can see the improvement and the determination Josh has to win this year.”
Another Trojan who has shown vast improvement is heavyweight Richard Sharek.
“Richard missed the state tournament by one match last year,” said Dedmon. “He is determined to get there in his senior season, so he has traveled all over the nation with Josh and improved so much over the offseason. His work ethic will not only help him individually, it will give a boost to the team as well. We are expecting big things from Richard this season.”
Chase also looks poised to dominate the lighter weight classes as well. Senior Dillon Hemphill brings champion experience to the mat for his senior season in the 113 lbs. class.
“Dillon qualified for the state championships his sophomore season and missed it by one match last year,” Dedmon said. “He is determined to get back to the championship this year and I think he can compete for a title.”
Though Chase will rely heavily on its seniors this season, Dedmon says the underclassmen are also loaded with talent.
“We have a lot of really good freshman coming in this year,” he said. “All of that goes back to our strong middle school program where we have over 60 wrestlers getting experience and they are waiting to come up to the next level.”
While there are several underclassmen that show promise, Dedmon predicts that one wrestler in particular will burst on the scene in 2012-13.
“Jose Vasquez has looked great in practice at 106 lbs,” he said. “He is so quick that I expect him to come in and make an immediate impact. He is a big part of our plans this season.”
While the Trojans do have big plans this season, which include winning several individual championships and a team title, Dedmon admits that Chase will have to take things one match at a time.
“Our end goal is to win championships, but to do that, we have to do well at tournaments,” he said. “That process starts on Tuesday (Nov. 20) when we face some of the top teams in the state at Saint Stephens. I expect to win that tournament and hopefully that will be the first step in a great season.”