Wrestling shows strength in early matches


Madlynn Morris

Coach Eric Coovert, along with seniors Lucas Early and Park Wardlow, shout direction and encouragement to junior Khloe King during a meet against Kingwood High School last December.

Rachael Ortega, Special Contributor

The wrestling season has just begun and adrenaline is rushing as the team is off to a strong start. With 58 athletes total, the wrestling team is bigger than it has been in a long time. 

“Our goal and expectation is to be district champs for boys and girls,” coach Jeff Knight said. 

Knight has been coaching for 13 years, 12 of those as head coach. His mindset while planning has been to schedule all the hard 6A schools early in the season so the wrestlers will be prepared when they get to district competition in January. 

“I enjoy the competition and seeing the self confidence of athletes grow as they improve,” Knight said.

Leaders on the boys side include juniors Lucas Early and Brandon Waggoner as well as seniors Landen Smith and Devin Connolly. Juniors Parker Wardlow and Lillian Reid have emerged as leaders on the girls’ side, along with seniors Jo’ Watson and Lola Jasso.

There are 15 on the girls’ team, which has won four individual state titles in the past three years. Wardlow has been wrestling since freshman year loves the team atmosphere. As one of the captains, she helps lead the girls’ squad during practices. 

“They are dedicated to wrestling and they’re friends,” Wardlow said.. 

Early, another team captain who qualified for the State Championships last year, has also been wrestling since freshman year. He said his knowledge of the sport helps him lead the team. . 

“I know a lot about wrestling, I know techniques to show, I get things done,” Early said.

The captains said the team is family oriented and everyone wants to see each member succeed. They love Knight’s pep talks and motivational speeches before meets and after practices.

“Wrestling is an individual sport but we stretch the team aspect,” Knight said. “[The goal is to] just improve everyday. You get results by what you put in.”

The wrestling team’s biggest district competition is expected to be Friendswood, Dumas and Milby. They have four upcoming dual meets, including the Bulldog Duals in New Waverly on Friday and Humble ISD Duals on Dec. 16. 

Just like every other sport wrestling relies on spectators and family support. They have already had three home meets this season and return home Jan. 11 for a district meet.

“Thank you for your support,” Early said. “It means a lot, and pushes us to work harder and do well.”