Wrestlers Balance the Risks and Rewards of Competing during COVID

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the way we live our lives in many ways, one major thing it has affected is athletes and their sports. Some sports are not as affected as others such as cross country, where they can still run the same trails while being socially distant.

Other sports that are close contact such as wrestling have had to change their routines significantly to keep at their success. Junior Wrestler Dillon Mouser says their entire practice schedule has been altered compared to last year. “Last year, we used to be able to just switch partners. Now we have pods of 4 people , and we can’t drill, lift, or practice with anyone outside of our pods. Typically we practice with only one person in our pod until it’s time to wrestle each other for a live match.”


Mouser says they also had to split up into separate rooms. “Stations 1 and 2 are mat 1 , and 2 are in the same room but divided by a curtain. Station 3 is the weight room. Station 4 is mat 3 , which we moved upstairs. Sixteen people on one mat, and obviously we wear our masks everywhere except for when we are on the mat, and every time we switch stations we sanitize.”

Wrestling team members gather around a teammate to offer support before at match at the December 5 meet. Photo by Paige Moore

Practice routines aren’t just the only thing COVID-19 has affected. Varsity wrestler Evan Clayton decided to switch to online school to lessen his risk of exposure during wrestling season. “Online school makes it harder to get work done because you aren’t in the classroom learning first hand and you lack the motivation you would normally have in class,” Clayton says. “But it wasn’t a hard decision knowing I can maintain my grades and not risk missing out on a big part of the season,” he adds.


Over Christmas break, Clayton got quarantined, and not getting quarantined leading into sectionals was a big part of his decision. “I live fairly far from most of my family, but when I got quarantined over Christmas I was upset because I couldn’t go see my grandma, and that was pretty hard for me.” Clayton intends to stay in online school until he can finish up his season and the school quarter to learn the material easier and prepare for his AP tests.


The decision to participate in a team sport has affected some wrestlers at home also. Some athletes’ relatives have health problems that would put them at risk if they contracted COVID-19.


Even before COVID-19, being an athlete required making tough trade-offs. For athletes this year, the stakes seem more significant and the choices more complicated — but the drive to compete has not gone away

By Cameron Allen

From Wrestling to Recycling, Adonis Boyd Does It All

JHS senior opens up about new recycling program, busy schedule, and the diversity of Jeff High

Many know 17-year-old Jeffersonville High School senior Adonis Boyd. But what they may not know is that Boyd is the driving force behind the school’s new recycling program. Boyd is well-rounded and is involved in numerous extracurriculars including Key Club, Student Council and Friends of Rachel. He is also an awarded wrestler and is involved in track as well. His participation in sports is one of the reasons he got the idea for the recycling program.

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Senior Adonis Boyd collects recycling. (Photo by Bella Bungcayao)

“Well, I drink a lot of water, like with all the things I do, with all the sports,” Boyd said. “I get really dehydrated really quick. So I always bring two water bottles to school with me and I realized that kind of adds up.” He also noticed other things that should be recycled instead of being tossed in the trash. “Sometimes I’ll go to the copier room if I need to run something for a teacher,” he said. “And they just have so much paper…and there’s just nothing to do with it. They just throw it away, and it can go to something. It can do something bigger.”

Boyd also loves the diversity at Jeff High, saying that it’s “a big mesh of a lot of people.” “It’s very real worldish,” he said. “Like the other schools, they’re going to be like one group of people that stand out. But here, everybody really gels together really well.  There’s a lot of diversity. It’s just a really great place to be to set you up for the real world.”

Boyd wants to make a difference in this world by increasing diversity and helping the community through recycling. He wishes to bring the diversity that Jeff High shows to the outside world. “With other schools there can be subgroups,” he said. “Of course Jeff High has those subgroups but within those subgroups people are also intertwined to other groups. It’s not just like one person rules everything. Everyone is friends with everybody and I just wish that we could take that to the outside world. Because in the outside world people can very groupish. It’s very stereotypical. Like, ‘Oh I see them. I don’t hang out with them.’ But here we don’t see any of that. We see everyone for how they are as a person. Like I can be friends with anybody. And that’s wonderful.”

Story by Greta Reel

Co-Ed, Girls Wrestling Teams Look Toward a Promising Post-Season

Coming off a successful HHC Tournament last weekend, the Jeffersonville Red Devils co-ed wrestling team is prepared to end the season on a strong note. Four wrestlers earned all-conference honors (1st place) in the HHC Tournament: Ethan Rogers, Devin McDaniels, Matt Munoz and Cody Matherly. Rogers, a senior who has wrestled for two years, says it takes a lot of commitment to win. “Wrestling is really hard,” he said. “We stay after, come in the mornings, put in extra work.” Sophomore Connor Pangburn, a JV wrestler, says team support makes a difference, too. “When you’re on that mat, you’re out there by yourself, but you have a whole team behind you. Everybody’s watching you and wants you to win.”

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Senior wrestler Ethan Rogers faces off against his opponent from Charlestown High School. (Photo by Paige Moore)

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Senior wrestler Cody Matherly takes a breath during a tough match. (Photo by Paige Moore)

This season has also featured strong performances from Jeff High’s female wrestlers. Last Friday, Chrissy True won the Indiana High School Girls Wrestling Association State Title. Emelly Valezquez and Mia Compton both took third place. Overall, the girls wrestling team won 5th place in the state competition. Compton says wrestling in a girls-only event is a bit unsettling. “When you’re going against a girl, it makes you a little nervous because you’re used to going against guys, and in the matches the guy usually wins,” she said. “But once you come out on top [in a girls tournament], it’s like boom … she’s powerful!” In only its first year, Jeff High girl’s wrestling team is already putting the other teams on notice.

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The Girls Wrestling team proudly shows off their awards after qualifying for state. (Submitted photo)

Although the regular season is nearly over (the last regular-season meet is tonight at home versus New Albany), fans will have more opportunities to cheer on the wrestling team at home. Jeff High will host the IHSAA sectional tournament on February 1, as well as the regional tournament on February 8.

Basketball, Swimming and Wrestling Season Previews

Girls Basketball

The Lady Devils return to the court this season with many returning players – including senior Tori Handley and juniors Nan Garcia and Kelcie James – as well as returning coach Mike Warren. Based on early successes, the team looks poised for a sectional title this year. The Lady Devils have scored 60 or more points in games that they have won this year and look to continue their high-scoring streak as the season goes on.

The Lady Devils started the season off by defeating the 16th-ranked North Harrison Cougars 66-44. “It was a big win for us after being so close in previous years,” said team captain Tori Handley.

The sectional title is particularly important for the team this year, since it was taken from their grasp by a late, game-winning shot in last season’s sectional match-up against Bedford North Lawrence. “It was a terrible feeling, but we all know our roles and what we need to do to succeed as a team,” said Handley.

Written by Braxton Troutman

Boys Basketball

Every November, if a high school basketball team has lost a lot of senior talent, people call it a “rebuilding year.” Although Jeff High lost several seniors from last year’s strong team, not much rebuilding is needed this year. In fact, the 2018-2019 Jeffersonville Boys Varsity Basketball team, under the direction of coach Joe Luce, is poised for an exciting and successful season.

For returning junior starter Trè Coleman, this season he will have to take the court without the experience of his brother Jaden Coleman and the leadership of Bailey Falkenstein, whom they lost to graduation. Coleman said he is “expecting a great season and a good run when it comes to sectionals.” The Red Devils will have eight returning players on their Varsity bench and Coleman feels like the 2019 Seymour Sectionals is a wide-open playing field. “With all our returning talent, we should consistently get better during the season and be competing for a sectional title in March.”

Written by Hannah Thibideau

Swimming

The Jeff High team is diving into another season for boys and girls swimming by getting back to their routines: morning practices, workouts, and vigorous afternoons in the pool. Their coach, Mike Pepa, couldn’t be happier with the work ethic on his team. “It’s difficult. We put in a lot of hours, probably the most hours of any team in the school,” Pepa said. “But it’s a lot of fun and good camaraderie. You’re part of one of the most successful teams in the school if you join, but it takes a heck of a commitment.”

To get to their level of expertise in their sport, they don’t take the season lightly. When the end of October comes around, the girls team starts warming up. “I’m really excited to have a great season with the girls, everyone is so fantastic and sweet,” senior Haley Vescelus said, “ we have a strong team and I’ll be sad when it’s over.”

Starting the season off right, the girls won against Bedford North Lawrence in their first meet. The boys team season starts two weeks after the girls, by the beginning of November. Both teams are in the water working to better the team and themselves.

Last year’s state qualifier, Kameron Case, has high hopes for his senior year swimming. He plans to continue his career in the pool in college. “I’m looking forward to this season,” Case said, “ I hope this year will better prepare me for college level competition.”

While the team practices for hours and days, all of that work goes toward a smaller, yet larger, goal: shaving off mere seconds (or fractions of seconds) from their time on meet days. A swimmer must rely on their own strength and put those hours of training into trying to beat competitors on the clock. “You’re always trying to beat your best time,” Pepa said. “You’re not just benefiting the team but improving yourself as well.”

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Wrestling

The Jeffersonville High School Wrestling team is coming off yet another successful season. After a phenomenal 2016-2017 season, where the team qualified 14/14 Wrestlers to Regionals, the current 2018 team has qualified 13/14 wrestlers last season. “Team 60” also had 11 sectional champions.

As the wrestlers succeed on the mat, the team also gets it done in the classroom. Last year, there were six Academic All-State wrestlers, and the team also had the top two team GPAs in the state for the past three years.

With Coach Struck coming off of his sixth sectional championship, he looks forward to the new season. “My goals only change slightly from year to year. But our vision stays the same,” he said. “My goal is to make it to state, national and international championships, but the purpose of our program is to inspire our athletes to be the best versions of themselves they can be.”

Despite losing a class of wrestlers to college, there is still a major upside for the new and improved squad. Senior wrestler Isaac Hall says, “I feel we have a really strong lineup and I think it’s going to be a shock to everyone because of how many first year varsity wrestlers we have. They just haven’t had their time to shine and I think they are going to show out in a big way this year.”

Written by Jack Ellis

Boys Basketball Photo by Kyle Tincher
Swimming and Girls Basketball Photos by Amber Rowe
Wrestling Photo Submitted