CUSHING — The Weatherford Eagle wrestling team competed hard in the 20th annual Cushing Invitational Wrestling Tournament.
“Cushing is a tough tournament even in a year like this,” coach Corey Duncan said. “I thought we had moments where we wrestled well and got after it, but in the end we came up a little short of what we intended to do as a team. To me this is something to build off of, I think we can take some lessons learned from this weekend and apply it to the team moving forward. That is why I like this tournament so much, it really shows you what kind of team you are and what you need to do moving forward.”
No fans were allowed to attend the match because of COVID-19 protocols at Cushing and Duncan said it was a different experience, but the kids responded with positive attitudes.
“As a wrestler you probably think about it and recognize your parents are not there,” Duncan said. “However, I think the kids responded to it well. There was a live stream of the matches, I know it is not the same, but knowing the fact your parents could still watch the match helped in the situation.”
Duncan said his team is not far off as some matches just did not go Weatherford’s way, but he is proud of the way his guys kept fighting and competing.
“What I take from this is our guys are getting to where we can compete at events like this,” Duncan said. “We just have to improve in some areas, like keeping our feet moving and battling through some tough situations, but in the end I think what is going to help us the most is just the experience of a weekend like this.”
Duncan said the Cushing tournament is comparable to the state tournament because of all the tough competition.
“The depth at this tournament and the fact you have to bring it every match gives us an experience which is second to none,” Duncan said. “I know we can take the lessons learned from this weekend, build off of it and build to our ultimate goal and reach which is to make it to the State tournament. The guys we have in this room are going to embrace that challenge moving forward.”
Duncan said Tyler Jack Hoffman had a good weekend, even though he lost to the eventual champ and third place finisher.
“The eventual champ beat us 2-1 in a tough match,” Duncan said. “He had a good weekend and was a match a way from placing. I know he is not satisfied with the outcome.”
Duncan said Jaxon Klaassen also was a match away from placing and much like Tyler Jack he was not happy as well and he said the team will be ready to work and get better.
“I can say that about the team in general,” Duncan said. “All of our guys won matches and lost some tough ones, but I think what makes a tough weekend like this something to build upon is our guys left not happy about what happened. They will be ready to go to work and get after it to get the bad taste out of their mouth.”
Weatherford is 5-3 on the season and returns to action Thursday at Clinton in Custer County wrestling. It also is Weatherford’s first district match of the season.
“Clinton is a tough matchup and it is going to take our team coming together and getting after for 6 minutes each match,” Duncan said. “We have to wrestle hard and push the pace. Each individual will have to do their part. I believe we can do it and I know the guys will be ready to get after it. I am ready to see them get after it like I know they can. It will be a tough battle, but I know this team will embrace it and be ready to give their best Thursday night.”