Wrestling Season Makes a Takedown

~ The schedule, setbacks, and successes of the 2022-23 Wrestling Season ~


Gwendolyn Griffin, Journalist

The bleachers of Piedmont’s basketball courts have been filled with fans as the high school’s wrestlers rolled out the mats.  Wrestling season is in its prime, and the team is stoked over their latest victories and upcoming events!

After the team’s 2021-22 season, the wrestlers experienced a lot of growing pains as they had to replace the seniors from the previous year.  Coach Jamie Belk said, “It was a lot of chances for a lot of guys to step into leading roles that they’ve never had; and the biggest highlight was just watching the kids grow, watching them become leaders, become young men in the wrestling room and in the classroom.”

This growth has already been very beneficial in Piedmont’s 2022-23 season.  Nearly the entire team has returned from last year, and they are more experienced and committed.  Belk said, “I expect more state qualifiers, more state placers, another conference championship, things like that; that’ll be very important for the continuation of this program.”

“Our goal is for the end of January, winning conference championship, and then to advance into the state playoffs.  We’re preparing now so that when that time comes we’ll be ready for it,” said Belk.  His wrestlers are working hard to reach that goal as well as their own personal goals by sticking to their time-consuming schedule.

By the time November rolls around, the wrestlers are lifting, conditioning, and practicing five to six days a week.  They train about four hours a day, not including matches or tournaments, and they must maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to make their designated weight class.

One of the biggest difficulties of being a wrestler or a coach is managing the highs and lows.  Belk said, “I have one son, but during wrestling season, I have 45 of them.  The ups and downs that they share – I share… the highs are so high, and the lows are very low.  It’s just a joy to see these young men grow and become leaders and become successful.”

Perhaps the team’s biggest successes emanate from the life lessons the sport, and their coaches, have taught them.  Belk said, “Wrestling teaches you that nothing’s given to you and life’s not fair… Sometimes you can do everything right, you can do everything that you’re supposed to, and sometimes the result just isn’t your way…  It (wrestling) helps them (the team) overcome adversity; it helps them to realize that when life kicks you, you gotta get back up.  The sun’s coming back up tomorrow; you’ve gotta get up and get ready to go for the next event.”