PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton senior Jaden Sok with Traci Shoup and Ron Shoup on Senior Night Feb. 1.
Dalton’s Kaden Russell wrestles an opponent at the Dalton home meet Feb. 1.
Gavin Ryder and Jack Waldron at Dalton’s home meet Feb. 1.
Waynedale wrestlers and their families on Senior Night.
DALTON Now is the time in the season when high school wrestling matches get really exciting, according to Dalton’s Head Varsity Wrestling Coach Kenton Lemon.
Looking toward the post-season, Lemon clarified that, of course, all the tournaments and duals are fun and important, but in his opinion, the most exciting time is now for wrestling coaches and the teams as wrestlers see how their hard work pays off against other top wrestlers. The ultimate result? Win and advance.
Continuing to push oneself to improve from practice to practice and match to match is as important in wrestling as it is in other sports – and in most things in life. It helps to have a good coach. It helps to have good teammates. And sometimes there’s that special person on the team that really helps to lift everyone’s spirits.
Dalton’s sole wrestling senior was recognized last week during the school’s annual Senior Night. The Bulldogs hosted Orrville and Norwayne Feb. 1 for the home meet.
Lemon shared in an email a little bit about Jaden Sok and how he is glad that the senior, who is fairly new to wrestling, gave the sport a try and stuck it out – for himself and the rest of the team.
“We have one senior on the wrestling team this year,” Lemon wrote after last week’s matches. “Jaden Sok is our lone senior. Jaden didn’t start wrestling until last year. He wrestled in some big matches last year for us and I think he must have really liked it because he stuck it out and came back this year. Jaden and I have had several conversations about what wrestling can do for his future and I think it’s awesome to see a young man who has truly bought into what his teammates and coaches are telling him and stuck it out. It would’ve been pretty easy for someone to say, “Okay, I tried wrestling and it isn’t for me”. But Jaden said, “I tried wrestling, and I like to work and get better”. I also think Jaden brings an interesting dynamic to our team because a lot of our guys look to him when they need a laugh or are struggling. Jaden has been with us for almost two full seasons and I am so happy that he gave wrestling a try. I think he has learned a lot about the sport, but more importantly I think he has learned a lot about himself.”
Orrville won both matches as a team against Dalton (42-29) and Norwayne (60-12).
The previous weekend, the Dawgs travelled to West Holmes for a tri-match with West Holmes and Claymont.
“All in all, I think we wrestled pretty well against Claymont,” Lemon said in the email. “We went out and took care of business in the first dual. In the second dual against West Holmes, I did not feel that we put our best foot forward. After the match I talked to the team and reminded them that they have to trust the process. Our older guys really have to continue to push our younger guys to buy into that process.”
As for Feb. 1, Lemon said he expects to see in the near future a return of some of the “really good matches” he saw during the home meet.
“I thought our kids did a lot of really good things,” he said. “With that said, we are not done getting better. Now is not the time to plateau, now is the time to refine those skills that we have worked on all season. Our chain wrestling is getting better and our scrambles are getting more controlled. Those two things are something that we have tried to really work on in the last month and our kids are doing a great job with taking small steps and not just expecting to change their wrestling style overnight.”
The Dawgs hit the mats against the Fairless Falcons this week and then it’s onto the Wayne County Athletic League tournament which Dalton is hosting. This means Sectionals are right around the corner.
“Our focus will shift to the tournament run next Thursday night after we wrestle Fairless,” Lemon wrote in the email. “This is, in my opinion, the most exciting time for wrestling. Not that all of the tournaments and duals aren’t fun and important, but this is where we get to match up with some really good kids in our area and see our work pay off. I’m excited for the post-season and I know our team is getting excited. We have a few more weeks of dialing some small things in but now we start to get the win-and-advance mentality.”