Team dual meets build on tournament preparation for IR wrestling
Although the Indian River High School varsity wrestling schedule first hit the mats back in November, the bulk of the schedule is just finally starting to get under way this week, as head coach Jeff Windish gets his team ready for the start of the team dual meets, following a collection of early-season tournaments.
A sub-par showing at the Tiger Classic, A.I. duPont’s 28-team tournament over the holiday break, was not how Windish wanted to enter the new year, but, on the brighter side, the team is learning what has to be done.
“We obviously had some things to work on,” he said, “leading into the dual meets. Conditioning needs to be our focal point. Everybody has some room for improvement but, most importantly, we need to be able to wrestle a full match and not let the competition get away from us.”
Following some impressive tournament performances earlier in the schedule, the Indians were unable to advance any wrestlers past the third round of the Tiger Classic.
“We came out flat in the tournament,” noted Windish. “Our guys discussed it a bit this week. The kids realize that they didn’t wrestle to their full potential, and that goes for everyone, from our experienced wrestlers to the guys that we squeezed into the lineup for the tournament. We can’t afford to have guys not show up when it’s their turn on the mat, but I’d rather have it happen now than later, down the road, when it could really affect your standings.”
The team has their eyes on the Southern Henlopen division, which they were able to lock up last season, before finishing fifth in the Henlopen Conference duals. Tournaments earlier this year, including Newark’s YellowJacket invitational and the Indians’ Battle at the Beach, gave IR a look at teams from throughout the region, as well as within the state.
“By this point in the year,” said Windish, “the kids know what’s going to work for them, and they all need to take another look at their technique during a match. We’re not planning on changing our game plan unless we need to, so we need to continue to roll with what we have.”
The teams dual meets were set to kick off on Wednesday, Jan. 4, (after Coastal Point press deadline) at Delmar. Then the Indians will host Laurel on Friday, Jan. 6.
“These first two matches are must-wins for us,” said Windish. “They are two big division matches that have a lot at stake. I like the matchups against these teams. Where they are strong, I feel we may be a little stronger, and, if we come ready to wrestle, we can hold that edge. Our intention this week is to come out 2-0. I think I speak on behalf of our coaches and captains when I say that anything less than 2-0 is not acceptable.”
The Indians will catch another reprieve after this week, before heading to Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, Jan. 14, for another tournament. The Indians will then host Lake Forest on Friday, Jan. 20, for Alumni and Teacher Appreciation Night.
“Early division wins would put us in the driver’s seat,” Windish said. “If we can get two victories here, it will put us in a position where we’re in control of our destiny. After that, we’ll get a nice little break to nurse any injuries we might be facing, then we’ll get back to it and, hopefully, pick up where we left off.”