Halifax County High School wrestlers Colin Mabe (left) and Mason Fisher (right) practice their techniques during practice on Tuesday before their first match on Nov. 30.

The Halifax County High School wrestling team has begun practice for the 2021-2022 season, and according to head coach David Riddle his goal for the program is to have wrestlers who advance to the second day of states.

“The last two seasons we have qualified wrestlers for states, and it has been years since we have done that. My goal is for us to continue to make it to the state tournament. Three years ago, one wrestler qualified and two years ago, we had three wrestlers qualify,” said Riddle.

He added, “Teamwise our goal is to win as many matches as we possibly can.”

The Comets wrestling squad did not have a season last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Riddle believes that is why the numbers are low for the upcoming season.

“We want to grow our program, get our numbers up and take wrestlers to states,” said Riddle.

The Comets wrestling team hopes to have 12 wrestlers this season but aren’t sure of an exact number as they look to add more athletes this week.

Riddle said to keep an eye on four of his athletes this season, Colin Saunders, Colin Mabe, Mason Fisher and Peyton Yates.

“The two Colin’s are our most experienced wrestlers; Saunders came close as a sophomore to making it to states, and Mabe will be wrestling on the varsity team for the first time. He showed a lot of potential and was pretty strong in the youth program. We’re looking for the two Colins to lead the way,” said Riddle.

He added, “Mason has come out from the youth program as well, and Peyton is new to it, but we expect to compete and all of them have been putting in work.”

The first match for the Comet wrestlers is scheduled for Nov. 30 at home, and they will be taking on Bassett, Martinsville and Patrick County with a mat time of 5:30 p.m.

“Right now, we are working on technique and trying to get the kinks out because none of them have wrestled in two years. Our biggest obstacle is a lack of mat time but fortunately the rest of the district is facing the same exact thing,” said Riddle.

Riddle says wrestling is an individual sport but also a team sport and that the team sets a goal before every tournament to finish in the top three to five in the tournament.

“Looking more at district placement and regional placement, we want to finish in the top half of scores. Trips to states have been tough but I hope to see kids go to college and make national teams. Our biggest goal is getting into day two of the state tournament,” Riddle concluded.

Josh Carlton is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jcarlton@gazettevirginian.com. 

Josh Carlton is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jcarlton@gazettevirginian.com.