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Going to the mat for wrestling  

picture of wrestlers practicingpicture of wrestler practicing with speed dummy

picture of wrestlers practice

That's dedication: Watervliet wrestlers continue practicing their skills in the off season. Several members of the team compete in tournaments during the spring and summer.

Wrestlers flock to after-school practice even off-season


Wrestling season ended several weeks ago, but don't tell the half dozen student wrestlers flinging around 65-pound speed dummies like rag dolls in the basement of Watervliet Jr./Sr. High School.

The student athletes gather every Monday afternoon after school to continue fine-tuning their technique throughout the spring during an open practice. They use the dummies to practice their lifting, throwing and tackling skills, while building endurance, speed and agility.

Longtime coach Dennis Lane encourages his wrestlers to pursue the sport during the off season and supports them by offering the practice.

“They show up on their own. I don’t tell them to be here. It’s an open invitation. A few would stay here all night, so sometimes I have to kick them out,” he laughed.

Two of his wrestlers, 11th grader Hunter Weaver and ninth-grader Patrick Moore are looking to qualify for the National Greco/Freestyle Tournament in Fargo, ND this summer. Coach Lane said both have been successful during the offseason, having competed in the Northeast Regionals in East Strasburg, PA in late April and other tournaments in Long Island and Staten Island.

Weaver has been wrestling since the second grade and the sport has become his passion. “Wrestling teaches discipline,” he said. “It builds character. You have to work hard to succeed.”

Weaver, who wrestles in the 195-pound weight class, knows this first hand. The junior won the Class C title as a sophomore, but said he fell short at this year’s tournament, which has only increased his motivation to succeed.

“I want to make it to states and win next year,” said Weaver, who also plays football for the Cannoneers during the fall.

Another veteran member of the team, junior Connor Lyons, has been wrestling since sixth grade after his older brother invited him to a practice. He encourages younger students who have an interest in wrestling to try it and not be intimidated by what others think.

“If it’s something you really want to do, never mind what other people say,” he said. “Just wrestle hard, leave your all on the mat.”

Lyons has a philosophical outlook on competing. “It’s great to win,” he said, “but finishing the season knowing you did good and gave everything you had, that’s what matters.”

Both Weaver and Lyons have aspirations of wrestling in college.






Coach Dennis Lane, right, encourages his wrestlers to practice during the off season.