By Andrew Edwards
Photo from SEHS Wrestling
The Stanhope Elmore High School Mustangs wrestling team is making history this year, as they will be sending a school record of nine students to the Alabama state tournament Feb. 18-20. This season beats last year’s previous school record of eight students who attended the tournament.
Jackson Wade, Jared Cherry-Daniel, Jeremy Lawrence, Tanner McCord, Jake Taunton, Connor Russo, Gabe Taunton, Trent Bradford, and Caleb Foster are those invited.
“It’s really a testament to our guys and shows the tremendous amount of dedication that they have to this activity,” said Wrestling Head Coach Hunter Adams.
Adams, who has served as the SEHS Head Wrestling Coach for the last four years, has sent dozens of students to the state tournament during his stint with the Mustangs, Benjamin Russell, and Holtville.
However, the 20-21 season might have been his toughest challenge yet.
“With COVID, there’s been more stress and responsibility that this team would not have had to deal with under normal circumstances. We’ve had changes in the way that the tournaments operate, and we’ve gone to fewer tournaments,” Adams said.
Typically, a good wrestling tournament houses about 20 or more teams. Adams said that the average tournament this year only had four teams max.
“Our guys usually like to have 40-plus matches under their belt before it’s time for the state tournament. This year, most guys were only able to have about 25-27 matches,” Adams said.
The Mustangs also had to cancel all matches for two weeks back at the end of November. Adams said that each player lost about 17 matches during that timeframe.
“It’s not easy on the team when you don’t play for that long, because you not only lose the time for when you normally would’ve been playing, but you have to spend extra time training your body again to get back to full strength,” Adams said.
Even throughout all the hardships, Adams applauded his team’s effort the whole way through.
“We have a really, really special group of guys here. A lot of people may have folded or opted out of the year, but they stuck with it and are being rewarded for their efforts,” Adams said.
SEHS will be traveling to the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on February 18th to participate in their first bouts.