Potential Plentiful, Numbers Aren't as Tribe Wrestling Team Gets Ready to Battle through 2017 Season

By Jeff Toquinto on December 07, 2017 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

It’s not that Bridgeport High School wrestling Coach Chris Courtney has no faith in his wrestling team, but he’s probably going to be candid and tell you that the Indians probably won’t be winning a state title this season.
 
The situation doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of talent. Rather, it has more to do with a lack of numbers.
 
BHS will begin the season with no grapplers in four weight classes. The Indians’ bottom three divisions – 106, 113 and 120 – have no participants, along with the 275 pound class. Still, Courtney likes what he’s seeing from the dozen wrestlers on hand that have been practicing for weeks and recently had a team scrimmage that included a rules review against Buckhannon-Upshur.
 
“We had a great practice with Buckhannon. Coach Jake Orr has done a great job assembling a competitive team.  I feel both teams enjoyed and benefitted from having different guys to compete against,” said Courtney, who is starting his second year of leading the program. “Both coaching staffs shared different techniques and drills.  Hopefully it will be something we can continue each year.”
 
As for now, Courtney is focusing on this year. In particular, he’s focusing on a two-day season-opening match in Berkeley Springs as the Indians will have a Friday and Saturday affair at the Max Horz Invitational Border Wars.
 
“We are still competing with an incomplete team. The boys push each other.  The team chemistry is different when there is more competition in the room.  There is more accountability,” said Courtney. “If we stay the course and stay healthy we should produce better results. The returning three state qualifiers know what it takes to compete. The others should follow in their footsteps.”
 
Among those three qualifiers returning are two that placed last year in Huntington. Leading off will be Aidan Gibson in the 126 pound classification.
 
“We’re hoping to pick up where he left off,” said Courtney of Gibson who finished sixth.
 
Another sixth place finisher is senior Cooper Hineman. Wrestling at the 160 pound mark, Hineman will be counted on for team leadership.
 
“He’s a team leader and motivated,” said Courtney. “I’m looking forward to see how he finishes his senior season.”
 
Junior Austin Gibson is the other returning state qualifier. Although not placing, Courtney is hoping momentum at the end of 2016 carries into the current season.
 
“He finished the season strong and should have a very competitive year,” said Courtney.
 
As for the rest of the team and divisions, here’s a list of who’s competing and a few words from the coach on each of them:
 
132 – Kemo Summers (freshman): Solid skill set. Excited to see him develop over the year.
 
138 – Addison Courtney (sophomore): Returning from meniscal surgery. Put in a lot of work in off season to be ready for this year.
 
138 – Kolby Hill (freshman): Very good energy and determination. Transitioning from middle school to high school tempo.
 
145 – Josh Wojciechowicz (sophomore): Had solid season last year. He should be more competitive.
 
145 – J.T. Muller (freshman): Solid basics. Good strength. Transitioning to tempo of match.
 
170 – Benson Bassell (senior): Showing an impressive work ethic at start of season. Motivated.
 
182 – Carson DeMotto (junior): Returning for his second year. Great effort. Determined to get better.
 
195 – John Rush (sophomore): First year wrestler. Has hustle and heart we just need to add wrestling.
 
220 – Kavaughn Summers (junior): Very solid wrestling skill set. Look forward to see how he competes.
 
“It is nice to see depth in a couple weight classes,” said Courtney.  
 
Along with the upcoming meet, Bridgeport will be in action Saturday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. in the Superior Photo Scholarship Tournament at University High School. The first of two home matches on the year will take place Thursday, Dec. 21 when the Indians compete in a home quad with Grafton, Lincoln and Wirt County starting at 6:30 p.m.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Cooper Hineman, while Aidan Gibson is shown in the second photo.


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