Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos by Brian Tannehill | Director of Photography
WETUMPKA – With a new coach and a focus on finishing, the Wetumpka High Indians took to the mats Tuesday night and opened the 2022-23 campaign with a pair of solid victories. The Indians knocked off Russell County 68-12 and Pelham 60-20.
Tonight was great,” said Josh Highland, coach of the Wetumpka Indians. “There was a great atmosphere and the team really brought the energy. I have told them since Day One the team with the most discipline gets rewarded and they have shown that.”
The guy knows of which he speaks having been among the legendary wrestlers to come out of the Tallassee High School program. And has honed his coaching skills by instructing the Tigers in the ways of the sport.
“They did really good for the first matches of the season,” said Highland. “We were missing a few starters due to sickness. But I’m proud of the guys that filled in. It was a team effort and I feel good about the team going forward. I expect a good season.”
In the first match of the night, against Russell County, the Indians went on the warpath picking up a series of pinfall victories. Melvin Owens, Zach Crosthwait and William Johnson put Wetumpka up 18-0 with their wins. Kaleb Robinson hung on to defeat the Warriors Jabias Robinson 4-0. Willie Cox and Eli Walsh – after a Russell County win at 220 pounds – got the Indians back on track by pinning their opponents.
Troy Watson, Chad Strickland and Tyler Mann pinned their opponents. The biggest win of the night though was at 132 pounds. Noah Smith scored a technical fall over his opponent, outscoring the Warrior wrestler 21-6.
Highland: “Everyone did great, but Noah Smith really brought the noise with two dominant fashion wins against some of the other teams’ better guys for that weight class.”
In the nightcap of the tri-match, Wetumpka – after losing at 170 – rebounded to pick up a series of wins. Robinson, Christian Preston (forfeit), Stedman Dennis and Cox scored for the Indians. Joshua Bonasera, Roman Lozada, Troy Watson, Smith and Strickland continued the onslaught. Crosthwait ended the night picking up a forfeit victory at 160 pounds.
Highland: “The biggest thing we will keep working on is scoring on top. I want teams to know we are there and ready when that whistle blows. I’m super excited about everyone we have and this should be a great year.”
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