After winning the league tournament, coming out on top at districts, and beating the No. 2 team in the state at regionals, the Eaton Rapids varsity wrestling team is optimistic about the upcoming individual and state tournaments. The Greyhound wrestlers have worked hard and come out with a winning season.

According to coach Joe Ray, the team hasn’t given up a day in the 2017-2018 season. Every practice has been vital and focused, and they brought their work ethic to the mats.

“We get the most out of every day,” said Ray. “We run a practice before duals, for conditioning, and set ourselves apart from our opponents.”

The rigorous practices have paid off for the varsity team. It’s that work ethic and the strength of their season that Ray believes will carry them in the state tournament, but the spirit around the team certainly helped out this season. Ray is hoping for continued support for the upcoming state tournaments.

“It’s their team effort that sets them apart,” said Ray.

Throughout the season Ray has marveled at the unity of the 2017-2018 wrestling team. Even when they’re not out on the mat, the guys have their head in the match with their teammate. Not only has the team presented a unified front, but the school has been right there with them.

The Greyhounds going for their first team tournament in more than years, and there are seven boys going to the individual tournament. The strength and resolve of the wrestlers has held them on a team level, as well as on a personal level.

“Hard practices bring us together,” said Ray. “We always make the statement, ‘We live in the trenches and die in the trenches.’”

The motto of the trenches speaks to Ray’s coaching style; that individual achievement is still largely a team effort. All of the wrestlers have had their moments of glory in the season. Everyone has contributed key wins in the season, and to Ray that’s more important than having one guy coming out on top and carrying the team.

“We don’t obsess over ratings and stats. We just go out and wrestle.”

The next two weekends will have big moments for the Eaton Rapids varsity wrestling team, but ultimately the season still comes down to all of the little, often unnoticed moments. Repetition and consistency in practice, the smaller wins throughout the season, and encouragement among the teammates brings a team to state tournaments.