Future, present collide for Wolverines in tri-match split
Published 1:59 pm Friday, January 27, 2023
Polk County’s wrestling program got an intriguing look Wednesday evening at both its future and present.
Looking forward, Wolverine Wrestling Club members took part in a scrimmage with R-S Central’s youth program, and Polk County Middle’s undefeated conference champions were recognized.
That cleared the stage for Wolverines present, who defeated East Rutherford 60-24 but dropped a 69-12 decision to R-S Central in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference match.
The Wolverines (14-14, 4-2) could have earned a share of the MF7 regular-season title with a win over R-S. But the Hilltoppers, ranked as one of the top 2A teams in the state, won the first 10 matches of the evening and limited Polk County to wins by Jadyn Virgil and Kendall McEntyre.
The future is a bright one for Polk wrestling, but work remains to close the gap with R-S Central if the Wolverines are to end a conference title drought that stretches to 2004.
“A lot of people didn’t think we would be any good,” said Polk County head coach Thomas Hensley. “We’ve had a really strong year as far as we came in every day and worked really hard. People might not see that.
“It’s a long process if we’re going to beat teams like R-S Central, and that’s my goal. I didn’t come to Polk County to win sometimes. I came here to win a lot at a high level. It’s going to take a lot of offseason work, it’s going to take a lot of lifting weights and it’s going to take a lot of buy-in.”
The Wolverines had already defeated East Rutherford earlier this season and easily did so again Wednesday. Virgil, who earned an MF7 individual title last week, reached 40 wins for the season with his victories against both East Rutherford and R-S Central and led the win over the Cavaliers.
Though the R-S Central match didn’t fall in Polk’s favor, there were several individual matches that proved close. Carter Wade and Logan Nodine each battled deep into the third period. A late takedown led to a 3-1 loss for Amon Villarreal. Other matches proved close as well.
So while Polk left disappointed with that result, it didn’t fully deter from an evening that showed that it could be the Wolverines on the other end of the mat one day soon celebrating a conference championship.
“We were able to recognize our middle school team for going 16-0, and we had our youth kids wrestle before that,” Hensley said. “Those are big steps. Those are the kind of things that are needed.
“I feel like we’re working really hard at all three levels. I’m really excited about the future. The best is yet to come.”