Wrestling team takes down competition in early season matches



Clover Hill junior, Braxton Horoschak, sprawls to counter his opponent’s attack.

On Dec. 8, the Clover Hill Wrestling Cavs began their season by going 1-1 at a tournament at Glen Allen High School.

For the first time in 12 years, the Cavs defeated Mills E. Godwin High School at the early season tournament, which was a way to give the wrestlers an idea for where they are physically, in order to pursue a successful season, and perhaps even a championship. 

Junior wrestler Braxton Horashack enjoys the physicality of the sport, while also recognizing the many productive measures that wrestlers have to take in order to increase physical strength.

“A lot of what we do to prepare is actually like getting warmed up to begin with,” said Horoschak. “We’ll try to run around, wrestle with a partner for a little bit, just get… a sweat going and get our muscles and blood pumping. Instead of trying not to get fatigued, we’re typically trying to [prepare], and be ready to go.”

In addition, Horoschak believes that there is a mental aspect involved, making mental preparedness important as well.

“I think mentally we’re under a lot of pressure to make sure we’re going to be on weight and also…  making sure we’re doing our part for the whole team,” Horashack said. “It’s an individual sport, but how each of us does affects the whole team and affects our own [score], as well as the team score.”

Junior wrestler Cole Barner also sees the importance of being prepared physically for a match, especially by keeping a balanced diet in the days preceding. 

“It starts out with preseason work and a lot of conditioning, as well as lifting, so you don’t get so tired. Two or three days before the match, we start hydrating, so we won’t be dehydrated and get headaches and things like that. We have to eat healthy and get a well balanced meal, so you don’t have too many carbs or too much protein, you want everything balanced, so you’ll be able to perform at your best,” said Barner.

Being unprepared mentally will ultimately hurt a wrestler’s performance. Barner finds that the best way to prepare mentally is to tune everybody out, and not let anything or anyone distract him. 

“I kind of just put my headphones in, [and] don’t talk to anybody, and just kind of listen to music; get locked in,” Barner said.

Barner holds himself to a high standard as a wrestler, as he is not only returning, but he is one of the most experienced on the team. He also sets high expectations for himself, as he wants to go farther than just wrestling the nine match schedule.

“This season I’m hoping to win the region and hopefully place at states,” said Barner, “I’m very good at getting out from bottom. If I get taken down, I’m usually pretty good about getting back up and, if I can take [my opponent] down, my finishes are very good.”

Head coach Jeremy Fox understands the physical toll that the schedule takes on his wrestlers and prioritizes listening and having talks with his wrestlers on their overall health.

“It’s kind of like a give and take. I usually try to listen to what the wrestlers have to say,” Fox said. “I also watch their body language, but in reality, I try and set a schedule knowing ahead of time what kind of matches we have ahead of ourselves and then I try sticking to a plan really that helps out to limit physicality. I also try to set practice plans up that tell us when to be physical and when not to be physical.”

Fox realizes that his wrestlers are also students, and that student comes first in the term student-athlete. He tries to implement different strategies in order to monitor his students’ grades and encourage them to keep their grades up in order to keep wrestling.

“This year, I am doing a progress report,” Fox said. “Every other week their teachers get to put their grade in and [rate] how they’re doing on a scale of one to four. If the teachers need to communicate anything back to me, they’re able to; that’s been really helpful.”

Fox also makes sure to keep in touch with his wrestlers’ parents; also sharing with them what his academic expectations are, while also making sure that his wrestlers make school, rather than sports, their priority. 

“The other thing I’ve been doing is communicating a lot more with the parents, so they also know where we’re at and my expectations,” Fox said. “As far as the term student athletes is concerned, we’re students first and then we’re athletes.”

With that being said, Fox has high expectations for each and every one of his wrestlers, and hopes that this year they are able to succeed. However, more than anything, Fox wants his wrestlers to continue to grow and gain experience this year.

“My thing is just to continue to get better, get stronger,” Fox said. “I think our big thing about this year was that we needed to grow, and that’s what we did: we’ve… added eight more individuals to our program, and hopefully next year we can add eight more.”

Horoschak believes that the Wrestling program will be fairly competitive as they have some, very experienced wrestlers.

“I think the team’s really good this year. We have a lot of… really good kids and I think that if we all put the work in, we can… do fairly well,” said Horoschak.

As for the rest of the year, the Wrestling Cavs look to find success, like they have in years past, in order to bring Clover Hill a regional, or even a state, championship. 

In their most recent contest at Douglas Freeman High School, the Wrestling Cavs improved their overall record to 7-1 One standout wrestler from the event was senior Malakhai Lewis, who won his match. Individually, he remains undefeated on the season. Clover Hill’s nex

t match is Jan. 15 at Fluvanna County High School.