Wrestling Starting a New Season with Some New Faces

Liz Gray, Reporter

Wrestling is one of the oldest sports, dating back close to 5000 years. Wrestling today has come a long way from the ancient Greeks with the various levels and types of wrestling. It is one of the most physically demanding sports out there, and the dedicated athletes who take on this sport are truly a different breed of person. 

Hellgate’s wrestling team practices Monday-Friday from 4:15 until 6:30. Practice consists of extensive cardio, strength training, balance work, and drilling with a partner. 

The team itself is made up of about 18 wrestlers: 12 boys and 6 girls. It’s a fairly young team this year, consisting of mostly underclassmen with only two seniors this year. Many of the new people on the team this year are new to wrestling itself, so there’s plenty of room for growth, not just personally but also as a team.  

Hellgate´s head coach is John Smith, also known as Smitty or Smithers depending on who you ask, is in his 9th year as the head coach here at Hellgate. Smitty has dedicated his life and his freetime to supporting kids and their love of wrestling.   

Smitty couldn’t do it all by himself though. With the start of a new season the team welcomes two new coaches to the Hellgate wrestling family. Cole Meredith, who’s been wrestling for 15 years, joined the staff over the summer and helped with open mats and other preseason events. Meredith, who’s in his first year of coaching, said, “I love the sport and I’m looking forward to giving back to the wrestling community. I hope to see the team improve in all aspects of life. I want to improve my ability as a coach and to be patient. I want to improve the wrestlers lifes on the mat physically and mentally by teaching them empathy, discipline, and hard work! I want to achieve a love for our team and a family concept where we hold each other up and accountable and we teach each other what it means to be part of a team and a family.” 

Aaron Trygstad is also among the new faces on the team. Trygstad has about 22 years of wrestling and coaching experience under his belt. This is his second year coaching but his first here at Hellgate. When asked about his goals for the season, Trygstad said, “I’m most looking forward to the growth in the young wrestlers and hopes to build up the program. I’ve had great role models in life and I feel like I owe it to them to pass that along. It’s always good to give back to the sport that built my character and share that with young kids. I hope that this season the kids realize their potential and meet their personal goals.”  

The team is excited to be back in the wrestling room and to be competing again. The boys had a rough first weekend in Butte at the Mining City Duals. On the other hand the girls started their season at the Flathead Girls invitational with Lucy Andrews placing 4th in the 126 weight bracket and Kaylee Barber placed 5th in the 162 weight bracket.