Chris Staton emphasizes that the Scottsboro wrestling team is only two weeks into a long season, and a lot of work is still ahead of his Wildcats to reach their ultimate goals.
But the coach admits the results have been impressive the first two weeks.
Scottsboro recorded a fourth-place finish in the Hewitt Duals in Trussville before placing fourth in the Huntsville Invitational as two wrestlers (170-pounder Damian Ramirez and 182-pounder Kolton Clark) won weight class titles and five more place in the top-five.
“We’ve wrestled well,” said Staton, whose team wrestles today in the Tullahoma (Tennessee) Invitational. “Our older guys have done want you expect of them. Our young guys, hopefully they continue to try to step it up.”
Clark, a two-time state champion that earned All-American honors at the Super 32 Challenge in October, has started his senior season with a 10-0 record with nine pins.
“Kolton’s continued to work hard and has been dominant,” Staton said. “I’m not sure what he’ll see (at the Tullahoma Invitational), but I know the McCallie Invitational (Dec. 14-15) will be a good test for him.”
Meanwhile, Ramirez is also undefeated (10-0) and is coming off what Staton said was “probably the best (tournament) I think of his career. He was the eight seed and ended up winning it. He also defeated (the 2018 Class 6A 170-pound) state champion from Columbia.”
Conner Calfee is off to a 9-1 start at 160 thanks to what Staton attributed to a strong offseason and continual improved fundamentals. Staton was also complimentary of the solid starts of Mason McKenzie at 106, Clinton Stewart at 113, Tre Billingsley at 195 and Caleb Anderson at 220. Sophomore Levi Hall, 9-1 on the season, “has really held that spot down for us” with defending state champion Bradford Womack out with an injury, Staton said.
The coach said Jordan Porter is making progress as he works toward eventually filling Scottsboro lineup hole at 126 pounds. Staton believes 152-pounder Tanner Shelton is “knocking the rust off after a couple of years off. We talked him back out this year. I think he’s a guy that can be a difference at the end of the year.”
Staton intentionally set up Scottsboro’s early-season schedule to be challenging, and he believes the Wildcats are benefiting from the good competition.
“I set it up that way so we could see our weaknesses and know things we needed to work on,” Staton said. “We just need to keep getting better, get in better shape and hopefully stay healthy. We always want be getting better, but right now, I think we’re on the right track.”