Right now, Hillcrest High’s wrestling team is in a bit of transition mode.
Now that football season has wrapped up, several key Rams are moving from the gridiron to the mat, and coach Robby Bell is working them into wrestling shape.
That’s why a tournament like the Southern Slam is so important for Hillcrest. The Rams finished 16th in the two-day, 40-team event at Eastside High that featured top teams from across South Carolina and the Southeast.
Hillcrest had multiple place-winners, and Bell called it a “wonderful tournament.” Most important, he said, was what his team can take from the weekend.
“You get a good gauge of where your kids are at this point of the season,” said Bell, in his first year as the Rams’ head coach after nine years as an assistant. “We hope we can use that to see where we can work on and improve at, and where we need to be at the end of the year.”
Sean Horgan, the Rams’ 132-pounder, finished seventh, and 138-pounder Jeremy Higgins finished sixth. Landon Sayegh finished fourth at 195.
Following football season, Sayegh just transitioned to wrestling last week.
“To be able to place fourth in this tournament against top-quality competition, he got to see a couple of guys he’ll get to see later in the year, and so that’s a really good thing for him,” Bell said. “Sean and Jeremy, being senior leaders on this team and getting to place in this tournament, that’s an outstanding accomplishment for them.”
Hillcrest will continue its rigorous schedule during the holiday break by traveling to tournaments in Tennessee and North Carolina, and Bell said his team still has plenty to improve on this early in the season.
“Conditioning-wise, we’re not anywhere near where we need to be right now,” he said. “That just goes with our training schedule. As long as we keep going in the right direction we’re planning on going, we’ve got to get a little bit better. There’s some technique we have to work on that we’re a little bit rusty on, situations kids haven’t been in yet, that they saw this weekend we’ll be able to go and cover.”