The 2021 Cinnaminson High School wrestling season looks a bit different this year due to all of the rules and regulations because of COVID-19.
While in a traditional year the wrestling season would start around January, this year practices did not begin until March 1st and the first competition was held March 16 against Delran. Because of COVID changes, the season will end in late April, giving the wrestling team a season just shy of two months. While parents are allowed to attend matches at CHS, other family members have been discouraged from doing so; the Cinnaminson High School Athletics YouTube channel posts a stream of the home matches for viewers, which can be found here.
Conlan Holt, a four year player and senior captain of the team, explained how this year’s matches differ from past seasons.
“We are only able to have dual matches, against one team, whereas previous years we could have quad matches against three other teams,” Holt said.
Although the season is shortened and there has been less time to prepare, head coach Robert Murray is confident the team will succeed.
“We have a strong room with good leaders, and I’m very confident that we will be prepared for whatever our season looks like,” Coach Murray said.
One challenge players face in a typical season is cutting weight in order to wrestle in a certain weight class. This season this meant players had less time to meet their weight goals as they only had two weeks between the first practice and competition. Further, conditioning for wrestling is not like most sports in the fact that it is a lot more intense.
“With only two weeks to prepare before our first match, it certainly makes things tougher,” Coach Murray said.
After victories over Delran and Northern Burlington in the team’s opening matches, the CHS wrestling team will face Moorestown, RV, and Haddonfield before spring break. Due to a compact season, the team will only have 15 regular season matches but many of the matches are only a few days apart.
Despite the shortened season and potential COVID-19 risks, the players are embracing their chance to compete.
Sam Kotch, a junior and captain of the team, is not letting this season’s protocols affect his goals for the season.
“I have been doing this since I was a little kid with one goal in mind: a NJ state title. Even though wrestling this year is a risk, our team has been taking the proper precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID,” Kotch said.
Holt is determined to have a strong finish for his senior year.
“Wrestling means everything to me,” Holt explained. “This is my final year to make a statement of myself and this school, so I’m determined to meet my final goals and make it to the state tournament.”
Having less time to prepare and connect with teammates has been difficult, but the team has adapted and made the best of the circumstances.
“Not seeing anyone in school or being able to have much time to talk during practice because of Covid, it starts to separate us,” Holt said, “but we have been communicating frequently with each other online to keep our team together.”
Currently the wrestling team is 3-0 as they start off their season.