Though small in numbers, the Winfield wrestling team has been putting together some impressive performances this season.
“Obviously we don’t have a huge quantity of guys, we have a very high quality of guys which has been pretty awesome for us this year,” coach Trevor Locke said.
He said that it is always nice to be able to have a full line-up, but he and his team are rolling with the reality of their situation, which is dealing with the numbers they have and working on improving their talent.
“We are able, coach Payne and I, to focus on the individual wrestlers we do have and try and make them as prepared and ready as possible for each match,” Locke said.
Charos Sutton is one of the few wrestlers Locke has to work with. Sutton is a freshman that just came off of his first season of high school football, where he played as the starting quarterback for the majority of the season. Sutton has wrestled well and Locke has high hopes for him not only this season, but for his future wrestling career at Winfield as well.
“Charos, being a freshman, has come out and wrestled really well. We are pretty excited for him to go to districts this year and see what he can do,” Locke said.
Locke also pointed out the good work of Matthew Hornbeck.
“Matthew Hornbeck as well, a sophomore and returning state qualifier, has been wrestling very well as of late. For him, especially since he’s been able to stay down at 106 this year as a sophomore, we are looking for him to do some good things coming up,” Locke said.
Sutton and Hornbeck are having seasons to remember, but teammate Clark Rogers is having one for the ages.
“Clark is having a dynamite year,” Locke said. “On the mat it’s just been phenomenal.”
Rogers had a match after press time at Marshall, and against a wrestler from Odessa that, if all goes according to plan, could be one to decide how things shake out at tournament time.
As a senior, the lone senior on the team, this is Rogers’ last shot at winning that state title.
Last year was also a fantastic year for Rogers, one that by all accounts would be tough to best, but he is on pace to do just that.
“This year he is absolutely throttling most everybody he is wrestling,” Locke said.
Rogers is one match away from winning the all-time win total for the school, a record that his brother holds. Clark’s brother has 174 victories, with Clark sitting at 173, at press time.
With 12 to 13 matches left in the season, it is only safe to assume that Clark will overtake his brother as the leader on that all-time wins list.
It’s a rivalry that Locke says is definitely present in Clark’s mind.
“We joke about it here and there. I think it’s a fun rivalry with his brother because his brother, Kai, was a phenomenal wrestler as well, so I think they have friendly little jokes about it. He’ll be excited to get it,” Locke said.
Rogers already holds the all-time record in Winfield for pins and takedowns on the mat.
In his freshman year, Rogers took sixth place at state; in his sophomore year he took fourth; in his junior year he took second; and now in his senior year, he only has eyes for gold.
Rogers may be gone next year, but the young talent of Winfield leaves Locke hopeful for the future of Warrior wrestling.
“With Charos being a freshman and Matt being a sophomore, and both of them already wrestling at the varsity caliber, it does give us hope,” Locke said.
And he isn’t just relying on hope as a way to create new wrestlers for a steady pipeline of fresh and experienced talent filtering into the school, he is utilizing his resources: in this case, the middle school.
“The idea is for us to have middle school wrestling this year and hopefully, you know those middle schoolers are going to be high schoolers next year, hopefully we get a good core of freshmen, which would be awesome because those kids could then come in and wrestle with Charos and Matthew, if they are anywhere near our weights, which most of them should be,” Locke said.
He pointed to Sutton and Hornbeck as excellent examples of mentors for young wrestlers because of their ability to raise the level of those below them and the fact that as youngsters, they are already wrestling at high levels.
By getting the middle school wrestlers in matches before they venture into the high school game, Locke said that the hooks are sinking in and he expects a fresh new crop of freshman next year.