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Football run leaves Redskins short as wrestling season begins

Football is a tough sport. Wrestling is a tough sport. Seems logical then that anyone who plays football should be a good wrestler.

No necessarily so — especially when the football season just ended for some, and others who are solely dedicated to the sport of wrestling has been after it for nearly a month already.

Morris found itself in a divided position on Tuesday night when it opened the wrestling season at home against Dwight. It was just three days after the Redskins played in the Class 5A state final contest in football.

"There is a big difference between wrestling conditioning and football conditioning," Morris football and wrestling assistant coach Keith Anderson said. "Football you are taught to go out and give it a max for a 30-second play. In wrestling, its six minutes."

Anderson would know since he both played football and wrestled for Morris as a youth. In fact, he said he was put in the exact same situation as some of the football players on the wrestling team on Tuesday.

"I remember my first match my senior year. It was the same type of turnaround and I think it was even against Dwight. But I went up against some guy had never won before but he had been practicing since October and he almost beat me," Anderson said. "It's a matter of getting into the weight room and working on a different type of conditioning. It's about being ready for six-minute matches. Once the kids get four or five matches in, I think you'll see a difference."

Taking it from two different perspectives, Kenny Baldridge is a non-football player and junior Trevor Allbert is a football player/wrestler. Both acknowledge that those who have focused on wrestling to this point has the advantage.

"I think it's a big advantage. I think it puts me a half a season ahead or even more. I feel that I am almost in tip-top shape," Baldridge said.

"They've had weeks of practice to get their timing and their moves down," Allbert said.

Fellow junior football player and wrestler John Guistat agrees with Anderson that the training is different from football to wrestling.

"Wrestling is a lot more about endurance," Guistat said. "There is also a lot more fast movements. It's really about getting after it."

Nobody knows that better than Nik Countryman. Countryman was a senior captain this past football season and a returning All-State wrestler. He's also coming off a season with a broken hand and they are taking things one step at a time right now.

"Football just ended and I just came out. Coach wanted to give me a few days off before I get going," Countryman said. "It was a long season and I'm ready but I also want to take it easy a bit. Then I'll get back out there."

"We still have to get him cleared for wrestling. I don't think it's going to be a problem," Lanning said. "The big thing is getting Nik certified for 182. That's the plan. Right now he's rated No. 2 in 2A there."

Lanning said that all things being equal that Countryman could probably go out in his current condition and still get a win if it was necessary.

"I think if it came down to it and there were no rules and all, I think he could have stepped out and wrestled," Lanning said. "But we want to make good and sure that the kids are ready before they go out there."

And what will that take?

"Pretty much the key is to get on the wrestling mat," Countyman said. "That and to get my conditioning down."

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