Young and thin. Two words no wrestling program ever wants to hear, but that is what Fort Mill is facing this time around to start the 2021-2022 season.
Fort Mill enters the season ranked seventh in the state, but head coach Chris Brock said this year could be unlike any other in his tenure at the school.
“We have a thin roster,” he said. “We got a lot of new guys in the lineup that haven’t been starters, but they have been wrestling a while.”
And while Fort Mill may have experience, they don’t have a lot of depth. The Jackets have just one senior in 120-pound Bella Hoffman. Even before the season starts, the Jackets are down with injuries and will be missing a key component in their lineup in Joshua Sturgeon, who is done for the season with an injury resulting from football season.
“Losing Sturgeon hurts a lot,” Brock said.
While his expectations are always to win, Brock is hopeful his team will exceed his predictions for the season.
“It is a sink or swim situation,” he said. “Early on they are going to take some lumps and some beatings. Win or lose February is what matters most.”
With four teams making the playoffs, Brock is confident Fort Mill will get there this year, but the Jackets are usually winning the Region title or finishing second in the region. Something that might prove to be a challenge this year.
“We are just down,” Brock said. “It will be the most challenging year we will have here.”
Fort Mill does bring back wrestlers like Hoffman, who missed last season, due to injury, as well as, state qualifiers in Noah Kitchton (145) and Aiden Eubanks (113). Brock said he is also looking to wrestlers like TJ Miller at 160-pounds and Logan Shope at 126-pounds to also lead the way this season.
The Jackets open the season the weekend of Dec. 3-4 at Eastside High as part of the Southern Slam. They will then host the Kingsley Classic Dec. 10-11 and Milltown Duals Dec. 18. They will also participate in the Union Duals and Wildcat Duals in December.
The key part of the season for Fort Mill will come in January when they start their Region 3-5A schedule.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep