by Jack Nowland/Lion Staff
The Lovett wrestling season wrapped up weeks ago, with the team finishing another successful year. Many wrestlers did well and achieved their goals, but the biggest achievement was Rogerick White winning state.
Heading into the season, the goal for head coach Billy Maldonado was simple. “I wanted to get better every day,” he said. But some of the wrestlers had bigger goals for themselves, and for the team.
Senior Chris Ocana had two goals for the season. “Our goals for every year are to leave the team with wrestlers that continue the success of the program and to also have some State Champions,” he said. “We had one this year in the form of Rogerick White and we're all more than happy about him having won.”
Despite Rogerick winning state, Chris thinks everybody else missed their goals. “For everyone else, I think we didn't reach our goals,” he said. “I wanted all the wrestlers to always strive to have more than one state championship and with the young sophomores and freshman that did place, I hope that they want more out of their goals and work towards them next year.”
Senior Rogerick White had a different goal in mind for the team. “The team had goals of qualifying for the state duals tournament and also having as many people as possible place at the state tournament,” he said.
Rogerick had a more positive reflection on the season. “We didn't qualify for the state duals tournament but we did send four guys to the state individual tournament and we had three people place,” he said.
Coach Maldonado is happy with the performances from many of the wrestlers. “We had a lot of standouts this season,” he said. “Rogerick won the 152 lbs. state title, Chris Ocana was a 2x All State wrestler, Jeremiah Allen placed 5th and Walker Metzger was a state qualifier.”
For Rogerick, winning state was a dream come true. “I have dreamt of winning a state championship since I was a little kid,” he said. “All of the hard work I had put in over the season had paid off and all of the sacrifices my parents made was worth it. I felt like I was dreaming when I won state and the first thing I did was run to my father and give him a big hug.”
Coach Maldonado was very happy for Rogerick as well. “I was very excited. He has been thinking about that state title for a long time and he did it. He is an outstanding young man,” he said.
Even with mixed feelings about this year’s results, everybody is excited about the future. “I think we're leaving the wrestling team in really good shape with the talent that will step up and lead the team next year,” said Chris. “Next year's team will be especially successful seeing as how the team will officially be led by the sophomore class, as the wrestling team is without a single junior.”
Coach Maldonado is also excited about the sophomore class becoming team leaders next year. “I think our Sophomores will step up next season. John Brooks, Tom Bethea, Will Houk, Jeremiah Allen, John Hornbuckle, Jake Garrett, and Chris William,” he said.
Rogerick also expects the team to perform well next year. “We had a very young team this year and I think those guys will get better during the offseason and come back next year and do well,” he said.