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Area wrestlers headed to state

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It was a good weekend for the schools of Southern Denton County at last week’s Region II wrestling tournament, as Flower Mound coach Steven Davis was named the Regional Coach of the Year, and Marcus and Argyle both sent a wrestler on to state.

Flower Mound outscored second place Martin 197-124, and Davis said he was pretty pleased with his teams’ effort, especially given the obstacles the Jaguars faced.

“I was very proud of our overall effort,” Davis said. “As we were unable to use LISD facilities to conduct practice during the snow days, it fell to the athletes to control their weight and their conditioning.  You would be hard pressed to watch their performances last weekend and deduce that they had missed some five days of practice in the two weeks leading up to the tournament.”

Davis said it took his entire program to have the kind of success it enjoyed at the regional tournament.

“Of our eight State Qualifiers, six began wrestling at a young age in local wrestling clubs,” Davis said. 

“All of the athletes on my team that are currently state placers had wrestling experience that began all the way back in elementary school.  Frankly, without the tireless efforts of our club coaches for all of those years, we would not be in a position to compete for a championship today.”

Davis acknowledges that the general opinion among prognosticators seems to be that his team will finish second to Allen at state, and added that bringing home a state championship would be huge for Flower Mound. 

“Allen’s middle school wrestling program has put them years ahead of the rest of us,” Davis said. “We have two or three freshmen that walk into our room every season that already have experience.  Allen has 20 or 30.  If we are somehow able to overcome that disadvantage to win the state championship, it would be ridiculous.  Imagine if Cody Vanderford or Charles Freet had to field teams that had no experience prior to entering high school.”

Dylan Akers, Scott Akers, Austin Riddle, and Drake Dudley all won regional championships for Flower Mound, while Brady Speckels and Alex Wranik finished second, and Tom Beaury finished third.

Davis said it was a great feeling to be named Region Coach of the Year, but was quick to give credit to others.

“I don’t know what to say about the Coach of the Year award,” Davis said. “It is nice to be recognized by your peers.  But, it’s not like I built this program by myself.  Our club coaches, my assistant coaches, our booster club, and the wrestling team that started things back in 2005 when they finished third at the state duals have all made important contributions that have brought us to where we are today.”

Over at Argyle, Ben Hammer took second place at 152 pounds, and coach Jake Fischer said he is confident in his wrestler’s ability to compete at state.

“Ben went into the regional tournament with the same focus and mission that have brought him success all year,” Fischer said. “He works very hard, he’s very dedicated, he studies his opponents and has a game plan before he walks out on the mat. 

“He wrestled very well in a very tough weight class.  He continues to gain attention because he’s so quick and he’s such a great technician.  His objectives for Austin haven’t changed since we began preparing in August: he wants to be a state champion. Personally, I like his chances.”

Dylan Powers finished third at region in the 215-pound weight class for Marcus High School and will be representing the Marauders’ wrestling squad at state.

The state wrestling tournament will be held on Feb. 25 & 26 at the Delco Center in Austin.

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