Wrestlers look towards State Championship

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Lexi Miles

Junior Branden Martin pins his opponent at the Piper meet.

Rene Evans, Staff Writer

The Pirate wrestling team is looking to complete another season with a strong finish at state. Last year, the Pirates had six individuals qualify for state, which was the most in Piper History. Junior Branden Martin has been wrestling varsity since freshman year and has had a big impact on the team over the past years.
“I’ve definitely seen him mature over the years,” said senior teammate Tyson Lanter. “In wrestling, there are certain moves that some people just can’t hit. He used to think about these moves, but now he can execute and hit these moves easily.”
Martin is hopeful to continue his success after a strong finish to last season.
“Last year I was league champion and I ended up making it to state. I was one match away from going to the semifinals, but I ended up losing in overtime,” Martin said. “It taught me that you really just have to be confident. Last year I would get really nervous before all my matches, but this year I am just going into every single match confident. I think that’s helped me out a lot because I go in there knowing that I can beat every person I face.”
Last season, the pirates were faced with adjusting to new coach Todd Harris.
“He’s probably the best coach Piper’s ever had honestly,” Martin said. “He knows what he’s talking about and he knows what he’s doing. He’s been a coach for a really long time and he’s really experienced.”
Wrestling has been one of Martin’s hobbies since he was eight years old, and has brought him closer to many people.
“When I was a kid I was good at it, and so that wasn’t something I was going to stop,” Martin said. “It was actually me and Anthony Ferguson who first started, and we’ve just been on the same team ever since we were kids.”
Also returning from last year’s team is junior Anthony Ferguson, who has been wrestling with Martin for as long as he can remember. Ferguson is currently 33-1 on the season.
“When we both were younger, we started in the novice class. As we got better, we both slowly moved up in classes together,” Ferguson said. “Wrestling together made things a lot easier. We knew each other before high school, which makes practice easier and helps us continue to make each other better.”
Martin is currently undefeated this year at 27-0 and did something no Piper wrestler has ever done.
“I won the Basehor tournament which is one of the biggest tournaments of the year behind state,” Martin said. “It was a really big win for me because I think I was known as the first Bobcat champion in Piper’s history, so that was pretty cool.”
The team believes that if they continue working hard at practice, they will have a shot at state in a couple of weeks.
“All we really have to do is just push each other because we all want to be the best and we all want to be good,” Martin said. “And we know this year more than any year we’ve had is our best chance at taking on the title in wrestling as a team. We will always hold each other accountable and just push each other every single day.”