Bulldogs stay patient through rebuild

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The King’s Fork High School wrestling team has been patient in its rebuild within the program.

The Bulldogs wrestling team has been progressing with each match. It is essential for a young team that the Bulldogs have this year. Last season, King’s Fork had its first ever state champion in Dennis Whitehead, who went on to graduate. This season they do have a veteran presence mixed in with some of the youthful wrestlers, but Coach Jason Dunaway feels good about how the team is coming together.

“Guys are gelling well,” Dunaway said. “We are rebuilt basically from scratch. We do have some experience there, but we don’t have anyone that has been there for more than two years. We have a lot of potential here, though. Guys are working hard.”

Email newsletter signup

The Bulldogs do return Kirk Bond Jr., Alijah Wyatt and Gabe Wyatt. All those wrestlers finished strong last season. Dunaway sees it as a fun challenge learning new wrestlers and coaching differently and teaching the sport of wrestling. As a coach, he knows he has to coach each athlete differently. Something that might motivate one athlete might not motivate the next one.

“You want to get familiar with your kids,” he said. “You want to know what motivates them and what makes them tick. It’s definitely challenging, but it’s good, because both coaches and athletes are learning in the process.”

One thing that sticks out about the Bulldogs this season is how hard they work. Dunaway sees that all of his wrestlers want each other to succeed. That type of chemistry and vibe brings the best out of each athlete. From the first tournament to the last tournament before the winter break, Dunaway believes there has been a night and day difference with the team.

“The first tournament you can see them rolling around trying to get a feel for it,” he said. “Now we are out there competing. Guys are winning matches they lost earlier in the year. We can see that the hard work is paying off.”

At the winter break mark, Dunaway feels the team is a bit further along than he imagined it would be. There is still work to be done, because they want to be wrestling their best in February during the postseason. The Bulldogs will get back on the mat again Jan. 9 in a dual meet. They will host their first tournament Jan. 16.