Wrestling USA magazine is calling it one of the toughest tournaments in the South this year. Tomorrow and Friday, the LaRue County Mat Hawks will compete in the Smoky Mountain Duals in Pigeon Forge, facing some of the best from around the entire South.
This year head coach Gary Canter has put together the “toughest schedule ever” for any of his teams. The Mat Hawks have risen to the challenge at every turn.
So far this year, dating back to June, the present Mat Hawks went to camp at Virginia Tech where they defeated the defending and current number one ranked team in Maryland and then faced the number 8 team in the nation, Christiansburg, Va. and competed in one of the most heated duals any of his teams has ever wrestled in, losing 39-30.
Two weeks back this team wrestled in the Ryle Rumble where they defeated the second, third, fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth ranked teams in Kentucky. Canter’s team also defeated the second-ranked team from Virginia and one of the best teams from Indiana and Ohio at the Rumble.
Now Canter is taking his Mat Hawks to Pigeon Forge to face 24 teams. Seven of the teams are ranked number one in their respective states. Five are ranked second in their states; and 17 of the 24 are ranked in the top eight in their respective states.
“This is the toughest tournament we will wrestle in this year and quite possibly ever for any of my teams,” said Canter. “We have had invitations to wrestle in several national tournaments this year but this is the one we are going to because each every dual will be a war and will help prepare us for Feb. 17 (state tournament).”
This will be the third time one of Canter’s team will be wrestling at the Smokey Mountain Duals. The first two times the Mat Hawks finished no higher than fourth and never won their pool let alone the tournament.
Goals for this year’s tournament?
“We are going to try and win it,” said junior Caleb Canter. “We love challenges and this will challenge us. We have a solid team from top to bottom and in order to win it, we will have to have every single wrestler give their best. This should be fun.”
“I am so pumped about this tournament,” said senior Shawn Hull. “I just get excited about the talent that will be there, the quality of the teams we will be facing.”
“Win or lose,” said Coach Canter, “when we come back from this tournament we will be better prepared for Feb. 17 and that is all that matters. “
The Mat Hawks will post results each evening on their website http://www.angelfire.com/ky2/laruewrestle/ or click on the link at the bottom of the home page for The LaRue County Herald News at www.laruecountyherald.com.