New coach, new protocols, same Stratford Wrestling

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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STRATFORD, Wis. (WSAW) -To the surprise of no one, the highest ranked wrestling team in our viewing area right now is the Stratford Tigers. But it hasn’t exactly been business as usual for them.

Not many people thought wrestling would happen going into the winter sports season, including those in Tiger orange and black.

“Coming into wrestling, it was a lot more contact than football, and being inside,” said Stratford 170-pound wrestler Hunter Ford on his concerns. “You know it’s just always in your head ‘what if we don’t have it?’”

Luckily the show has rolled on, with protocols, including yes, wrestling in masks, which has been a different adjustment period for many.

“Yeah, I guess it hasn’t been terrible,” said Gavin Drexler, a 138-pound Stratford wrestler. “Just because when you wear it in the room four days a week, you kind of got to get used to it.”

“Oh, I’m still getting used to it,” said Elijah Lucio, 145-pound wrestler for the Tigers. “It’s kind of hard to breathe during matches, but I’m getting there.”

It’s a year of change for the Tigers. They’re wrestling in masks, vacating their wrestling room for 15 minutes at the end of every varsity practice to sanitize for the JV squad, and have a new man in charge. Adam Davison takes over as head coach for the legendary Joe Schwabe.

“The way I look at it is this: It’s the same book, it’s just a different chapter,” said Davison.

Chapter one of the Davison era: A first time head coach dealing with an unprecedented season.

“The masks are annoying sure,” Davison said. “They’re not exactly the easiest thing to wrestle in. But at the end of the day, how bad do you want this thing? You know, let’s do everything we can to have the best season that we possibly can.”

The Tigers are used to being ranked top-three in the state. Right now, they’re seventh.

But they’re young, hungry, and far from finished.

“If anybody is going to try to sleep on us because they look at the Cadott score, or the fact that we lost to Fennimore, I think they’re going to be surprised when they see us as a team later in the year,” Davison said.

“We still have something to say about things when it comes to regionals and sectionals.”

When you walk into the Tigers’ wrestling den, the standard becomes obvious very quickly. Even if he’s new, Davison is not shying away from that.

“The goal is to keep adding to this room,” said Davison. “You know eventually, we’re going to need more wall space, that’s the kind of hope that we want to have.”

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