Thompson Wrestling Headed Into Postseason with Region Title In Tow
With a seventh straight Region 3 title in hand, the Thompson Warriors are aiming directly at a sixth duals championship and a tenth state title in program history under head coach Shawn Weltzin.
Lucky number seven didn’t come by way of luck, but Coach Weltzin has another description for it.
“The kids really have to buy in and commit to it. Commit to the practice schedule and working every day,” says Weltzin. “Without their buy-in and that level of commitment, it’s not gonna happen. Our kids have been going at it since well before football season.”
A run of this magnitude is built on foundational players throughout the years and Thompson’s main contributors come from all angles.
“A lot of our seniors like Carson Freeman, Devin Stone and PC Edmondson, those three have been starting factors in our lineup for a while,” said Weltzin. “Juniors like Nick Dempsey and Avery Clark. This year we have a good mixture of grade levels.”
Usually teams are heavy on upperclassmen, but the Warriors starters come from all over from seniors to seventh graders. It’s something that Weltzin believes makes his team unique.
“I guess that we don’t have the big senior class. Last year we had five seniors starting, this year it’s just weird because we’re so spread out in our lineup,” says Weltzin.
Several wrestlers are looking to continue their careers at the collegiate level while a few others are biding their time on the opportunities that still await them at the conclusion of the season. Thomas Giere has already committed to the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse while Gabby Sims has committed to Huntingdon College.
Thompson also brings back five players who placed in last year’s girls state wrestling tournament. Weltzin has been at the forefront of making women’s wrestling a sanctioned sport in Alabama.Thompson will host the opening rounds of the girls championship on Thursday, January 19.
“This year we’re a little bit older, we started them in seventh and eighth grade and that first group is now sophomores,” says Weltzin. “We did pick up some girls who are seniors so we have three of those.”
Going for a tenth state championship for the program would be an incredible benchmark. For Weltzin, it’s fulfilling a promise he made in his early days with the Warriors.
“When the program started I️ was like ‘Hey, we’re going to win ten here’ so I guess it would be cool for that to actually happen,” said Weltzin. “That’s what I️ told a parent one time and he wrote it in a letter to me years later and it’s been sitting on my desk for a while.”
There’s still more work to do, but the next few weeks boil down to a few simple factors: pins and placement.
“Our superstars have to go out and make pins for us, one step at a time, one round at a time,” says Weltzin. “We need to get kids in the finals and not overlook anybody and not let anyone sneak up on us.”