This year, St Helens High School wrestling is in the midst of a successful season, and the program’s participation numbers are through the roof.
Though there has been some shake-up with coaching in the program from the previous year, girls wrestling coach Hannah Barber said, “the atmosphere and goals of the program are very much the same.”
In last year’s State Championship, the St Helens boys and girls wrestling team placed 9th out of the 28 wrestling teams. Over the past few years, the program has seen its numbers rise and boasts its most deep squad yet.
“We have 60 kids in the program at the moment. The last few years we have been growing the room steadily, and this year the team was even bigger,” Barber said. “I think that fact that girls wrestling is becoming so illustrious is a big factor in our recent growth.”
On the mats, the team is already having a successful season. The team has already competed in 5 tournaments, and the competitions have yielded great success.
“We have attended quite a few tournaments with many of our kids placing in the top 5 at each one,” Barber said.
Captains leading the charge
One of the keys to their progress has been the leadership of some of the team’s talented individuals. Kate Leonard and Cambria Funk are two of the team’s captains and have been instrumental in the group’s success. Of Leonard, Barber said, “She is scrappy but is also tirelessly working on her technical knowledge and it shows.”
Another standout on the team is sophomore Kallee Kester, who has been “making waves” for the program. According to Barber, Kester has been a locker room leader and has started the season with a scintillating 21-1 record on the mats.
In last year’s State Championships, Kate Leonard and Cambria Funk finished fourth in their respective divisions. This year, the team is already beginning to focus on addressing more minor issues so they can succeed later in the year.
“Our meets have been very successful so far. We are really focusing on mental toughness as it is a big aspect of wrestling,” Barber said. “We have been conditioning and drilling hard since the season began so now we are cleaning things up and perfecting our strategies.”
While having a successful season is significant to the program, the coaches also hope that there are lessons the athletes will take away beyond competing.
“I really hope our student-athletes can take all the self-discipline and confidence they gain on the mat, out into their personal lives,” Barber said. “They work hard in the room so they can perform well at meets and tournaments. When they are older and they go to work or school, I hope they have the determination and mental toughness to earn their way through life.”
Imparting these values is essential for coaches, and the students can use the skills they learn beyond their time at St. Helens High School.
The Chronicle has reached out to the SHHS Boys Wrestling Coach Paul Connelly for his insight. We’ll provide that story in an upcoming online and print edition of The Chronicle.
Welcome to the discussion.
1. Be Civil. No bullying, name calling, or insults.
2. Keep it Clean and Be Nice. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
3. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
4. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
5. Be Proactive. Let us know of abusive posts. Multiple reports will take a comment offline.
6. Stay On Topic. Any comment that is not related to the original post will be deleted.
7. Abuse of these rules will result in the thread being disabled, comments denied, and/or user blocked.
8. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.