Bearden’s wrestling team has had their fair share of stops and starts throughout the season. Covid-19 has cancelled multiple matches and resulted in members of the team being contact traced throughout the year.
But the Bulldogs managed to overcome all of that on their way to wins over Farragut and Hardin Valley on Thursday to win their second straight district title.
“We really haven’t had many matches due to cancellations,” Coach Donnie Floyd said. “It definitely didn’t help us keep a rhythm going with our season. But in the few we have had, we wrestled pretty well.”
Even with all the interruptions the team has still had some standout wrestlers in Dylan Burns, Matheson Meade, and Aiden Duarte who all have the potential to get to the state tournament.
“Our strongest wrestlers this year have been Dylan Burns and Matheson Meade,” Coach Floyd said. “They both made the finals of the only tournament we have been able to wrestle this year. On top of them, Aiden Duarte has really stepped up and wrestled really well. He went undefeated at our duals in Gatlinburg.”
This year’s team is experienced after only losing two to graduation last year. Having wrestlers who have experience in the regional and state tournaments has helped the team in key moments during matches.
The experience has also helped the team get past all the stops and starts due to Covid-19.
“It is helping a lot,” Coach Floyd said. “Most of our guys now have several years of wrestling behind them so they are more prepared for the competition ahead of them. They also set a bar for the newer wrestlers to strive for.”
With the region and state tournament next month, the team has their sights set on a big postseason.
“We want to … send as many people as we can to the state tournament,” Coach Floyd. “The state tournament has cut the field in half this year, so it is harder to qualify. We have several guys who have the ability to get a medal at state. It all comes down to wrestling your best on one day.”
The individual region tournament is on Feb. 13. Any wrestler who places in the top two in a weight class will advance to the state tournament on Feb. 20.