SHARONVILLE – Wrestling is one of those solitary sports.
It’s one-on-one. The weight’s the same. And, once the match starts all that matters is how hard you worked prior to standing in that circle and how bad you want your hand raised when it’s over.
Princeton High School wrestling coach Ty Robbins knows all too well what it takes on the mat. He wrestled in high school and he’s been a coach for 26 years, the last 14 of which have been at Princeton.
Right now, Robbins is practicing patience with a young group.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids, and for the first years and beginners, it’s been a learning curve,” said Robbins.
The first half of the season has been long but now that January has rolled around, Robbins and his Vikings are feeling a bit better about their situation.
“I’m excited, I’ve been waiting for this month,” Robbins said. “We’ve had some injuries and a transfer come over so we’re finally going to get everybody together as a team and wrestle together.”
Robbins knows that will help, especially for the younger kids. The older guys who have stepped into leadership roles are seniors Aaron Turner, Anthony Alexander and D’Alan Wright along with Abdoulaye Guisse.
At 145 pounds, Turner is in one of the tougher weight classes in the Greater Miami Conference and he’s currently 9-3 with four pins. Guisse has 10 wins at 132 pounds, which is the third-most in the GMC at that weight.
With just three seniors and two juniors, Robbins will tell you this is a rebuilding year at Princeton.
“This year is about getting experience and exposure to better teams and programs. The young kids get to watch the older kids and see what it takes,” Robbins said.
Over a season, every team is working on improving. Robbins hopes that by February the work will start clicking.
“I think they need to get better at all aspects of wrestling,” said Robbins. “I’d like for their technique and mat awareness to get better and learn how to finish off a match or go the full six minutes.”
Princeton hasn’t been shy, either. The Vikings have purposefully thrown themselves into the biggest and best tournaments with the most seasoned grapplers. Robbins knows that’s how his guys will grow up.
“They’ve seen the level of competition and where they need to be at,” Robbins said. “They’re coming together as a team and pushing each other in that direction, which is exciting.”