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The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

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FHN Wrestling Looks To Improve Upon Their Previous Season and Return Back To State

FHN+Wrestling+Looks+To+Improve+Upon+Their+Previous+Season+and+Return+Back+To+State
Credit to (Faith Smith)

When building a team in any sport, a good foundation is key to compete at a high level. It’s a basis for striving for success. This may be great coaching, great players, or in the case of FHN’s wrestling team, both. FHN had six wrestlers qualify for state last season, four of which are returning for this season. When looking for a great foundation, North has as good as any.

“Players of that caliber make it a lot easier for sure,” coach Christopher Brown, who has had 30+ wrestlers qualify for state during his 23-year tenure as head coach, said. “When players are constantly medaling and constantly succeeding, it definitely helps the growth of the team.”

In building a great wrestling team, coaches walk a fine line, as well as build up each individual player to be great in such an individual sport. Coaches also need to create a unity between the team. In each competition or meet, wrestlers are alone, but in practice, they have their support system and team to grow as a player.

“Wrestling is definitely an individual sport, but we build up together,” senior DJ Dillon, who wrestles at 150 lbs, said. “As leaders on the team, we lead the warmups and are looked up to by underclassmen.”

Along with striving for success, it can be equally as important to find great leaders. A coach’s voice is pivotal for a player’s development, but so is a player that their peers can look up to. A fellow player’s voice can resonate more with a player when receiving critiques. Dillon has done this quite well during this time wrestling at FHN.

“I think making state has given me a certain level of authority,” DJ said. “On top of that because my teammates feel like they can ask me for help if they need it.”

A great example of this is Dillon’s relationship with his younger brother, Cole Dillon. Cole, a sophomore at FHN, was also a state qualifier last season at 120 lbs. Cole has wrestled nearly his whole life, beginning when he was six years old. This has been an opportunity for the brothers to become very close, spending countless hours together. DJ has valued the opportunity to compete with his brother very much.

“My favorite part is cheering him on because his match is before mine usually so I can cheer him on,” DJ said. “My match will be up shortly after so I feel like it is motivating in a way and going to state with him is cool because not many people get to have that experience so it’s unique and I know that our family is proud of us.”

Cole has a similar experience, although being the younger of the brothers, he definitely has a different outlook on their wrestling relationship.

“Wrestling with my brother is really fun,” Cole said. “It definitely will be a lot different next year with him leaving for college but he is a great supporter and helps out the team and it’s just fun to have him there with me.”
Being as successful as the Dillons have been in their wrestling career, they have also gotten the opportunity to learn quite a few life lessons and learn about themselves through wrestling.

“Wrestling has definitely taught me a lot,” Cole said. “It’s taught me to be a good sport in everything I do and have discipline in everything as well.”

DJ and Cole have been leading the team in preparation for the season with open mats and off-season workouts, looking forward to the winter. This was not without difficulty, as Cole sprained his ankle prior to the season, playing football.

“With the sprained ankle, I just have tried to relax and get back to 100 percent while still trying to be a good leader for my teammates.” Cole said.

Looking ahead, this season is an emotional one for DJ, as this will be his last wrestling, as he plans to only play football in college.

“After this season, I plan to only focus on football,” DJ said. “I hope to make this a really great season.”

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