According to Liberty Christian School’s Head Wrestling Coach David Hughes, the goal of Warrior Wrestling is to win. The team kept that aim in mind as the wrestlers wrestlers competed at the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) State Championship, coming away with second place overall.
“We lost 10 of our 14 starters from last year who graduated, but I never looked at this season as a rebuilding year,” Coach Hughes said. “I still believed we had a chance at defending our first state championship from last season.”
Along with the second place finish, his team set a new record at TAPPS for the most individual state champions with five. Dawson Parker is now a two-time TAPPS state champion, and Paul Barbaro is now a three-time all-state placer after winning his first state title. Tanner Terry and Dylan Faucett are two-time state placers along with their titles. Garrett Sawyer was a state finalist from last season and is now a champion and two-time all-state placer.
“We also had really great performances outside of our state champions,” Coach Hughes said. “Clayton Odom capped off a great season with a second place finish. He has improved so much and has been a key piece for our lower weights.”
He said that his newcomers did an amazing job. Brady Banks and Hunter Stinnett wrestled up a weight in a very competitive weight class all year long.
“At the state tournament, Brady managed to get a pin for us and was one win away from placing in the top four,” he said.
“Hunter made the consolations finals for a chance at finishing in the top three as all sate, but settled for 4th,” he added.
Other newcomers in the lineup this year also included Michael Clarke, Alexander Balli, and Wade Marley.
“All of them had impressive showings,” said Coach Hughes. “Clarke was very close to placing, just one match away. Alexander finished 4th with a great day of wrestling in his first year as varsity wrestler.
“In addition, Wade, who battled sickness all week prior to state, fought very hard for us and finished in 4th place.
“A huge help at the heavyweight class was Garrett Johnson. He had an amazing performance and finished the day in 3rd place and earning all-state honors.”
Coach Hughes said he is very proud of all the boys for a great season. “Their hearts and efforts are more than a coach could ask for from a group of young men,” he said.
“At state, we wrestled well, and their best efforts were given,” he added. “To convincingly be one of the top two prep programs in the state, proven at prep duals and TAPPS – and especially after losing half of our lineup from the previous year, is not only impressive but shows the determination of the boys and God’s hand on our program.”
Vivian Nichols is part of the public relations team for Liberty Christian School.