Emotions dispense the hardest takedown

Wrestling senior night initiates reflection on graduating team leaders


photo or infographic by Reid Henderson

THANKS MOM. On senior night, senior Michael Scholwinski is accompanied by his mom Kim. The seniors of the boys’ and girls’ teams were honored before their match this week.

The mats are rolled out and the tensions are high. Seniors who have given their life, body, and mind to the wrestling program are finally celebrated in a night of remembrance. The stage is set, and the emotions are on display for one final home meet for these fiercest fighters of Willis High.

Last week, the Wildkat Wrestling team put their skills on display for all to see in their last home duel against Caney Creek. This match, which displayed more JV players than Varsity, mostly due to injury and a large freshman class. The wrestling team’s duel record has been more than impressive in recent years and this senior night was no exception. The senior’s fight on the mat proved just how much both this match and their team meant to them. 

“Wrestling has impacted me by giving clarity on the type of person I want to be,” senior Logan Hoover said. “Senior night was important to me, by being my last regular season home meet and the last time I would have friends outside of wrestling watch me dominate. It brought me joy and I made sure to leave it all on the mat.”

The seniors have all put their body’s on the line for the team and because of that, some players did not participate directly in the fight, but still made their contribution to the team.

“Despite being down experienced players, we had a good night,” senior Janice Talley said. “It was hard being injured on this celebratory night, especially since I am a captain, but even though I didn’t wrestle, my underclassmen are people I have specifically put under my wing, and I was able to live vicariously through their matches.”

Wrestling is a tough and grueling sport that requires immense mental and physical focus to not only become proficient at it, but to also stay at a high level. These athletes have been forever altered by wrestling and it’s no doubt for the better.

“Wrestling has prepared me for life outside of high school like controlling my diet while keeping my academics in good check,” senior Janice Talley said. “My skills in communication have improved and my insecurities have lost a lot of power over me. Much like many other women, talking about things like my weight always bothered me, but wrestling made me so desensitized to it. I thank wrestling for changing me for the better by making me a strong, mentally tough, and more confident person.”