Owning the Mat


Katie Wells

Varsity wrestlers watch the ongoing matches at the Ozark vs. Branson dual.

Alexis Goss, Writer

Throughout all of Ozark’s athletic program, there have been a countless number of hard working athletes. Each obtaining and reaching new goals at different heights. Ozarks wrestling program is a prime example of this. Both the JV and Varsity teams contain a group of tremendously hard working individuals. One of the Varsity’s focal athletes this season is Sophomore Braxton Strick. 

Strick started his wrestling career roughly 10 years ago. He currently has an undefeated record of 30-0 this season.

Strick says, “Hard work and dedication to the sport, along with the respect toward my teammates, coaches, and competitors,” are the main reasons for his success in wrestling. Strick treats all of his competitors with respect and treats them all equally, no matter the skill level or difficulty that the opponent may acquire. 

Wrestling compares to other sports in ways of weight training, lenient practicing, and the pressure of performing. Though wrestling differentiates itself from other sports in the aspect of “making weight.” High school wrestling contains a set of 14 weight classes and each wrestler is expected to wrestle in one of those weight categories. Before each dual and tournament, the wrestlers are weighed in to validate whether or not they can wrestle. If a wrestler is over their maximum weight limit before a dual or competition, they are not allowed to participate in the following event.

Strick says, “Dieting, practicing, and the right amount of sleep,” are ways that wrestlers cut their weight to the desired amount. 

There are multiple ways that wrestlers maneuver their opponents into winning a wrestling match. To receive an automatic win, a wrestler must pin his opponent to the mat. In a dual or tournament setting a pin ensures the team 6 points. Pinning your opponent is how you receive the maximum amount of points in a match.

“After I pin someone I feel relieved, feeling like I did good. If it is a dual and I pin someone, I feel that I have helped my team as much as I possibly could,” said Strick. 

Wrestlers practice every day after school to guarantee that they are getting in an effective practice before major duals and competitions.

“The practices consist of a lot of drilling and drill techniques. After that we usually go live and practice ends at that point,” said Strick. Like any other sport, it takes practice to perform and win adequately. 

“Wrestling keeps me involved in something, as well as being a major part of my life. Without it, I don’t know where I would be. Other things that keep me attracted to the sport include the new friends that I make, winning of course, and the memories that are created with the team,” said Strick.

Ozark’s wrestling teams take their companionship very seriously. They are a tightly connected group of individuals who observe their teammates at their worst and their best. While one wrestler is on the mat, it is guaranteed that their teammates will be watching them from the sidelines and cheering them on throughout their match. As teammates, they work to better themselves and each other to lead their team to success.