The adjusted and abbreviated St. Helens High School winter sports season is winding down as the school year ends.
The Lions wrestling team heads to the mats to host a competition against Rex Putnam High School Wednesday, June 9 as the last regular season meet. St.Helens High School is set to host the District meet June 17.
In the following conversation with The Chronicle, St. Helens High School Head Wrestling Coach Greg Gadbois gives us a glimpse of the team’s challenges and rewards.
The Chronicle: What do you see as the overall season and competitive challenges for your wrestling team and how are you helping the students overcome those challenges?
Greg Gadbois: Obviously the biggest challenge this year has been COVID and all of the restrictions involved with a high contact sport, that one could be its own article, but two challenges specifically:
• Shortened season - Wrestling a six minute match is one of the hardest athletic things you can do in high school and typically we have a couple months to prepare our bodies to take the abuse that three to five matches a day can do, and this year the kids are having to do it in one week.
• Spectators - We usually have a big traveling fan base that normally outnumbers the home teams crowd so this year, with no spectators being allowed, we have had to be creative in broadcasting our matches so we have decided to Facebook stream our matches this year. So far, results have been good with 90 people watching our earlier match with Hillsboro.
The Chronicle: What do you see as the strengths and what do you see as the weaknesses of your team this season?
Gadbois: We have a great mix of experience and youth right now. Our older group have been with the program for so long that they are able to help coach and bring along the younger kids showing them what it takes to be successful in high school. We have a real family atmosphere in our room and the kids really work with and care about everyone getting themselves better and better.
I’m really excited about our girls program this year. It is at the biggest and most experienced it has ever been with over 10 girls signed up, almost all with at least one year of experience.
The Chronicle: What life lessons do you hope the students take away from high school wrestling?
Gadbois: Wrestling mimics life in so many ways, setting goals, working hard to achieve the goal, battling though setbacks, teamwork, and sacrifice. This is one of those topics I could go on for hours about and is important to both me and the program.
Follow the team competition results at osaa.org.