A good wrestler is someone who has enthusiasm, mental toughness, and is ready-to-win.
The Seymour Middle Owls continued their recent winning ways with a 60-32 victory at Mitchell to improve to 6-1 for the 2014-15 season.
Their squad’s single loss came at the hands of wrestling powerhouse Jennings County — a close meet that came down to the final two matches.
“Hard work pays off,” Owls coach Joe Penegar. “We have to put in the work to get rewards every day.”
The hard work every day seems to be paying huge dividends with several wrestlers standing undefeated.
As of early February, wrestlers with seven wins and zero losses were Isaiah Pichardo, Jacob Kriete, Alejandro Jiminez and Kevin Corrales.
Many others have only one or two losses at the seasons’ halfway point.
“We teach them every day, be the best you can be, and it will take care of everything else,” Penegar said. “We have a winning attitude, and I try to coach that. A lot of it is (that) they took to each other so well, like brothers.”
Assistant coach Matt Martin agreed.
“Based on the nature of our sport, grinding practices, unique elements like making weight, long days at meets, many of the kids tend to grow to have a close bond with each other as they continue with the sport,” he said.
First-year wrestler Clark Owen joined the “brotherhood” this season.
“My teammates are tough, but I like the sport,” Owen said. “I’ve wanted to do it for awhile. My teammates are good role models.”
At the middle school level, fundamentals are drilled into each wrestler.
“I’ve learned to stay low and keep my balance,” seventh-grader Keaton Roy said. “I’ve learned a lot about discipline.”
Brandon Penegar, who was the champion at Highland Hills, has learned a lot about discipline from wrestling.
“I’ve learned about mental toughness, how to maintain weight, and eat the right foods. It takes discipline.”
Seventh-grader Owen Chandler feels optimistic about Seymour’s chances of beating Jennings in the last meet of the season, the tri-county championship.
“If we learned from mistakes the first time, and if we mix them up, we’ll have a good chance,” Chandler said.
If last years’ tri-county meet runner-up, Justin Ruddick returns from injury, it will be a boost for the Owls.
To continue success, “We need to get our younger kids into wrestling, and our numbers need to keep coming up,” Penegar said. “We need to hit the weight room. We have to do weight training. It’s something that’s not been done a lot for middle school, is weight training, but we have to do it.”
These wrestlers feed off each others energy and pump each other up at meets.
“The kids have a positive attitude; the kids are fired up and ready to go,” Penegar said.
The Owls have a home meet on Tuesday against Columbus Central, and their last hosting will take place on Feb. 26 vs. Highland Hills.
Tri-County, their season finale, is scheduled for March 7th.
The Owls are also assisted by volunteer coaches, Bill Castetter, Darin Kriete, and Matt Chandler.
Managers include Lucie Downing, McCayla Hawkins, Krystal Lasley, Alex Quirno and Alexis Penegar.
Last, First, grade
Tankersley, Jesse 6
Shipley, Brody 6
Bonillia, Bryan 6
Reynolds, Braedon 7
Couch, Daelee 7
Hauersperger, Luke 7
Kinney, Collin 7
Chandler, Owen 7
Smedley, Alex 7
Layne, Trevor 7
Kriete, Jacob 7
Rodriguez, Juan 7
Owen, Clark 7
Beavers, RJ 7
Roy, Keaton 7
Isaacs, Johnny 7
Hensley, Colton 7
Hawkins, Michael 7
Rotert, Jacob 7
Pichardo, Isaiah 8
Penegar, Brandon 8
Alvarado, Jose 8
Schrink, Caleb 8
Keller, Jeren 8
Jimeneze, Alejandro 8
Barr, Ezra 8
Joray, Boone 8
Sons, Colin 8
Corrales, Kevin 8
Sachinas, Alejandro 8
Bonillia, Josue 8
Ramirez, Gabe 8
Briseno, Noah 8
White, Lester 8
Ruddick, Justin 8