FHN Wrestling Look to Return to Normalcy After Being Impacted by COVID-19


Credit to Natasha Haverly

On Nov. 19, the wrestling team warms up for the upcoming winter season in FHN’s lower gym. The athletes have begun hosting practices to hone and refine skills that will help them in future matches, meeting a couple hours everyday after school in the hopes of exceeding performance expectations.

By Chase Pray

Every sport has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. Whether it’s losing members or having their season canceled all together, everyone has felt the effects of the past two years. So, when arguably the most up close and personal sport, wrestling, got the green light to continue, several changes had to be made.

“In a global pandemic a sport where you’re face to face with another person definitely turned a lot of people off,” wrestling coach Chris Brown said. ”We haven’t had anyone quit the team but some of the people who said they were trying out never showed up.”   

Coach Sean Fowler hasn’t had a season quite like the 2020 season in his 15 years of coaching.  With coaches having to be masked and exposure to wrestlers having to be limited, changes had to be made. Athletes were put into small groups to limit contact tracing and when coaches would show off a move, all the athletes are separated.

“This year we are continuing this policy where we prop all the doors open to allow some fresh air to flow in,” Fowler said. “When we ran tournaments we’d check temperatures as people came in to mitigate the spread of COVID.”

For the 2021 season, the team is just shy of 40 athletes which is an improvement compared to last season. The team had the now graduated Lily Steigerwald make state and even had some athletes come as close as one match from qualifying for state last year. This year they hope to return to a bit of normalcy and send as many wrestlers as they can.

“We got some really good kids wrestling this year,” Brown said. ”We’d love to see more people come down and watch us because it’s nothing like any sport they’ve watched. Most people really enjoy it after watching.”