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Coaches Mask, Cook and Highland last season

Wrestlers get started next week

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee High School wrestling team will have a full schedule for the new season that begins next week.

Last year's team participated in 17 match events prior to sectionals. The team the year before had 43.

"Everything is hopefully back to normal," head coach John Mask said. "We have around 35 kids, around 30 that could wrestle varsity. We're excited."

For the most part, Covid restrictions will not apply.

"Unless the specific school has a restriction, there is no restriction by the AHSAA," said Mask. "We're planning to go back to the beach. (We're) going to Swede Umbach where you'll have 30 teams. Everything is back to pre-Covid."

Tallassee is competing in the Class 5A/6A ranks. There are eight seniors on the team; John Burnham, Zeryes Carr, Jake DeBardelaben, Brenden Emfinger, Russell Phillips, Devin Stiff, Preston Tidwell and Tyler Crutchfield.

"We're hoping for big things from our seniors. Hopefully, they're leading, working hard at practice and motivating the younger guys. Right now they're doing a great job."

Wrestlers are required to take hydration tests to determine their true weight range.

"The problem you run into is, five or six are in the same weight class," Mask added. "We'd prefer to have all these guys spread out. When you have five or six of maybe your better wrestlers in a weight class or two, it makes it hard. They're all mighty good wrestlers."

There is a little room to maneuver, but at the moment Mask is short on wrestlers for a few weight divisions.

"We don't like to forfeit weight classes. If you have a (wrestler) that has three percent body fat, he can't lose an ounce. He's encouraged to gain weight."

The junior varsity team opens its season on Monday, Nov. 22 hosting the JV Duals. The varsity starts the next day at home in the Jamie Blakely Duals. Both matches begin at 3:30 p.m.

"We think we're going to have a good team," Mask said. "We're trying to put the puzzle together."

JV/Varsity Schedule