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Pinning down the win

Following last year's district championship, Boys Wrestling works towards further victory

Sophomore+Dylan+Kohn+attempts+to+pin+his+Winter+Springs+Opponent.+Hagerty+wreslted+Winter+Springs+at+the+State+Dual+meet+at+Freedom+High+school.%0Aphoto+by+Stephen+Dowell
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Pinning down the win

Sophomore Dylan Kohn attempts to pin his Winter Springs Opponent. Hagerty wreslted Winter Springs at the State Dual meet at Freedom High school.
photo by Stephen Dowell

Sophomore Dylan Kohn attempts to pin his Winter Springs Opponent. Hagerty wreslted Winter Springs at the State Dual meet at Freedom High school. photo by Stephen Dowell

Sophomore Dylan Kohn attempts to pin his Winter Springs Opponent. Hagerty wreslted Winter Springs at the State Dual meet at Freedom High school. photo by Stephen Dowell

Sophomore Dylan Kohn attempts to pin his Winter Springs Opponent. Hagerty wreslted Winter Springs at the State Dual meet at Freedom High school. photo by Stephen Dowell

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Chasing a district championship win from last year, the boys wrestling team will wrestle in the FHSAA State Series beginning next week for the chance to become back-to-back champions.

“We are working hard preparing to defend our SAC and district championships,” head coach Scotty Diaz said. “We are looking forward to another chance to win a regional title and earn a trophy at the state tournament.”

The team has placed within the top three of the district every year since 2015, but last year was their first time they won a championship.

This year, the team has already won a number of matches, even qualifying for the state dual tournament, and finishing runner-up to Winter Springs in the SAC Championships.

Before the Individually Bracketed Tournaments that make up February and March, the team competed in the FHSAA dual meet championship in January. In a dual style competition, one wrestler from each team competes at each weight class, earning points through a win or pin. The team as a whole advances or gets eliminated.

“All the guys have been working hard all year,” sophomore Dylan Kohn said. “You get to do it with them and just go through it together.”

In the dual competitions, Hagerty won a first-round match against Freedom High School, a match in which three consecutive wrestlers pinned their opponents to secure a team victory. The team also went head to head with Winter Springs once more, this time achieving victory in the heads-up meet.

Then the team lost in the state quarterfinals to Fleming Island, 36-25, turning the focus to from the dual style of competition to IBT competitions, where many of the wrestlers will likely face Winter Springs wrestlers in both districts and regional. While many successful Hagerty wrestlers have returned this season to help, both schools feature returning wrestlers that placed in last year’s state meet. Top wrestlers include Kohn, junior Logan Perkins, and seniors Ethan Woods and Ryan Rowland.

“With the state series coming up, I’m excited to see how much these kids have improved,” assistant coach Juan Arroyo said.

To get to this point, wrestlers have been training several days a week both at school and at the Florida Southeast Regional Training Center. During practices, they mix a variety of conditioning and technique drills to improve.

“My favorite part of being on the team is hanging out with the guys and getting better,” Perkins said. “Seeing our progress on the season, seeing everyone get better and achieving their goals.”

Although this part of the season focuses on individual matches, the points are shared as a team, and the wrestlers are looking to continue their momentum of last year’s third place finish. This has seniors like Matt Byers mentoring their underclassmen teammates.

“I think they’re doing really well,” Byers said, “and they’re going to do well carrying the team next year.”

Before Byers brings his high school wrestling career to a close, his main focus, like everyone on the team, has been the individual postseason, which kicks off with the district championship, which this season is hosted in the competition gym on Feb. 23.

“I expect to make it to states,” Byers said. “Everybody’s working hard to make everybody push harder.”

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Pinning down the win