A number of Highland wrestlers, current and former, have been using the summer to improve in that sport, according to high school head coach Adam Gilmore.
“This spring and summer, we have had more kids than ever putting in work to prepare for next season,” he said. “In mid-June, we hosted our annual three-day All-Offense Wrestling Camp where we had about 30 area wrestlers, mostly Highland guys, come in to learn some upper level technique.”
Mike Stewart, who graduated this year after finishing fourth in the state for Division II and who will be wrestling for the University of Findlay, has had a very busy off-season.
He qualified for the Ohio National Team in Greco-Roman and Freestyle and is currently competing in Fargo, N.D. He also helped Ohio place ninth in the country in Freestyle at the National Junior Duals in Tulsa, Okla. in June and has qualified for the Ohio Junior Olympic Freestyle Team, which will compete in Virginia Beach from July 29 to Aug. 8.
“I’m working real hard right now to All-American at Fargo, as well as All-American next season at Findlay,” he said.
Freshman state qualifier Dakota Bunting and two-time district qualifier Sean Dudgeon also will be at Virginia Beach. Dudgeon also placed fifth in the Canada Cup in Ontario recently. Both listed reaching the podium in the state meet as goals for next season.
Also praised by Gilmore were two-time district placer Zach Baker and Kaden Bunting. Baker competed in the AAU National Duals and went 11-2 to earn a bronze medal.
“The summer is where average kids get good and good kids get great,” said Baker. “I have one goal — to win a state title.”
Gilmore noted that his athletes are putting in the work to achieve success on the mat, regardless of whether it cuts into their free time in summer.
“Summer time belongs to the kids, but the dedicated ones will use some of that time to get better,” he said. “Dakota, Kaden and Zach are all three-sport athletes. They are not only dedicating time to wrestling, but they are putting in time for football, as well. I’m really proud of these guys. They have goals and they are working towards them.”
Gilmore added that putting in the work during the off-season makes transitioning to the actual wrestling season a lot easier.
“It doesn’t take much time to get better in the off-season in wrestling,” he said. “An hour to an hour and a half, two or three days a week, is all it takes to build upon the previous season and put you at a higher level for the next. It’s easier to keep the ball rolling than stop completely and restart again in November.”
Information received from Adam Gilmore.