Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Wrestling Coach Andy Shrader speaks on his expectations for the upcoming fall season, and how the new group of athletes will perform compared to last year.
Shrader has spent some time in the fall preparing his team with a mindset to win this winter.
“We have been training during the off-season with wrestling workouts when allowed as well as running and lifting. Depending on skill level, some student-athletes are learning basics and fundamental skills while others are training in more advanced wrestling moves/styles,” Shrader said.
Moving on from a great season last year.
“We will expect every wrestler to hustle and work hard in practice. I believe hard work pays off in numerous ways,” Shrader said.
After last season, the team lost some important athletes.
“We lost 10 seniors and 7 starters such as Tim Mallo, Ayush Patel, Blake Brewer, Liam Alexander, Jack Malone, Travis Voelker and Sam DeLuke,” Shrader said.
Shrader agrees that last season was arguably one of the best, with some great achievements from his wrestlers.
“The wrestling team were conference and regional champions. We had Ayush Patel, Connor Voelker and Jack Malone place in the state tournament,” Shrader said.
Still there is plenty of potential on the rise, and a lot to look forward to as well.
“We have Ben Lance, Michael Pappaconstantinou and Connor Voelker returning who were state qualifiers. Connor placed sixth in the State last year, and I expect them all to excel this season.” Shrader also believes, “Stewart Walter and Jerry Rudiak will be some of our best wrestlers, although I think that Zach O’Briant, Josh Powell and Ronnell Wilson could be very good as well,” Shrader said.
Among all the group talent to expect this upcoming season, some athletes have their own expectations and achievements as well. Pappaconstantinou is one of them.
“I’m motivated by getting ready for college. I’m hoping to sign to a D1 team in the spring and the better I do this year, the better chances I have of starting at a D1 school. My goal is to win states as a team and individual,” Pappaconstantinou said.
Stepping into a large role on the team, Pappaconstantinou has done his part to prepare.
“I spent the summer training. I travelled to Wisconsin to train for a month during the summer. I made sure nobody would out-condition me or out-work me,” Pappaconstantinou said. “I feel like I’m in more of a leadership position. Being the only senior captain on a young team. I feel like I have the team looking up to me and following my role in how I train and prepare for matches.”
Competition and rivalries are high in tension this year, with big expectations and goals from Coach Shrader.
“Corinth Holders was our toughest competition, but Heritage is always a rival for Wake Forest. The team would like to repeat as conference and regional champions. We hope to go further in the state playoffs,” Shrader said.
The physical side of wrestling is only a small part of what helps a team accomplish their goals. According to coach Shrader, mentality plays a huge role as well.
“Chemistry is about the student athletes working toward a greater goal and caring about others as well as themselves. I believe it is more important, since wrestlers depend on their workout partners to get better and improve. Some practices will push them mentally and physically, which helps bond them as teammates,” Shrader said.
Looking forward to a great season, Shrader hopes to keep a powerful mentality with his team.
Shrader said, “Building a great attitude, commit to what is right and prepare to win.”