One wrestling match is tough. Five matches are tougher.
“It’s hard,” Rock Bridge coach Brook Harlan said. “These guys really have to be mentally tough and physically tough to go out there and wrestle up to five times in a day.”
Five is the maximum amount of matches a wrestler can have in one day. Harlan said some of his wrestlers will be wrestling that many matches this weekend at the Parkway South tournament in St. Louis. The tournament gets underway tonight and continues on Saturday. It is Rock Bridge’s first competition this year, and wrestlers are expecting to be a little more sore and tired than they usually are after a meet.
“We are definitely exhausted (after a tournament like this),” junior 152-pounder Charlie Lay said. “When you get two to three matches on Friday, and then you get out there on Saturday and wrestle two to three times again, the bus ride home is quiet. It takes everything out of you.”
As individuals, the wrestlers are looking to get off to hot starts, but Harlan is looking to see how his team matches up against some solid Class 4 competition because it will help with the seeding process for the district tournament.
“We have a 13-person district, so the seeding in there is really key because there are a lot of tough guys (in the district),” Harlan said. “We need to make sure we are seeing these guys to see how we match up at the end of the year.”
While none of the other teams in the tournament are actually in Rock Bridge’s district, the other 11 teams are all in Class 4.
While it is easy to look ahead , the most important thing for the Bruins is to have a successful start to the season.
“We’re looking to get used to wrestling live against other people besides ourselves and face good competition,” 140-pounder Kyle Lewis said. “If you face someone who’s not that good, you’re not going to get any better. And you’re not going to know what real competition is like.”
In past seasons, the Parkway South tournament has had some stiff competition. Harlan said the skill level in this year’s tournament is no different than those in the past. The high skill level of opponents is a challenge the Bruins are welcoming.
“Primarily, this is our hardest tournament,” Lewis said. “And to wrestle these teams and know that they are bringing good, quality, wrestlers for us to wrestle, that’s a great thing. Because wrestling guys that you know you’re going to beat right off the bat is good for your record, but it doesn’t help you at all.”
The most exciting thing for the wrestlers is competition. They will have a chance to see how much the hard work put in during the offseason pays off.
“It’ll be tight because it’s our first competition this year, and everybody’s been hanging out in the room wrestling the same people,” Lay said. “It’s also our toughest tournament, though. It’ll be nice to get out there and see your competition, see how you’re doing and see what you need to work on in practice.”
The other 11 teams in the tournament are Christian Brothers College High School, Francis Howell North, Jackson, Lafayette, Lee’s Summit, Lindbergh, Mehlville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High School and Vianney.