Wrestling mat
The PHS wrestling program got in three workouts before the Session 3 practices were suspended. ((Photo by Getty Images)

When it comes to full-contact sports, wrestling definitely fits the description. Two athletes walk onto a mat and square off in a battle of not only mental perseverance and ingenuity, but physical toughness.

As one can imagine, options are limited on what can occur on the wrestling mat with COVID-19 restrictions in place. The athletes went through drills and did some sets down in the weight room, but one of the big things that head coach Troy Woosley wanted them to get out of it was to just start thinking like a wrestler.

This is the third in a series of four stories on
Philomath High’s Session 3 sports teams that
began practicing on Nov. 9. Monday—Boys
basketball; Tuesday—Girls basketball; Today—
Wrestling; and Thursday—Swimming).

“It was mainly just getting the guys to move like a wrestler, move your body and stretching out and getting those muscles in tune for what you’re going to have to be doing eventually hopefully,” Woosley said.

But there could be no athletes working out with one another. So what could they do physically?

“We did a lot of mat drills on our own and brought out a couple of our shooting dummies that are suspended from the rafters,” Woosley said. “We shot takedowns on that and each day, there was something different that they had to do — like stand-ups or sit-outs or another shot. Some of the stations were up-downs or burpees and all kinds of things like that.”

Stand-ups, sit-outs, up-downs and so on are all types of wrestling drills.

“In the beginning of practice, we put them in like five lines and made them shoot across the mats — like a shadow shot all the way across the mats and come back,” Woosley said. “Then we’d go right into our phases.”

Over the last half of practice, wrestlers would then head downstairs and spend time in the weight room.

Woosley experienced positive feedback on how the wrestlers were responding to practices.

“I had a couple of parents out of the blue email me or text me saying, ‘hey, thanks for doing what you guys can do’ and they seemed to get a little bit of enjoyment out of it,” Woosley said. “Two or three of the kids hadn’t done any of the sports yet out of those limited practices.”

The wrestling program got in three practices before the Session 3 workouts were suspended — Nov. 17 and 19 the first week and then Nov. 24. Woosley said 10 athletes were participating in the voluntary practices and he expected more to join after arranging schedules or completing physicals.

The current Oregon School Activities Association plan shows the winter sports beginning Dec. 28 with competitions on Jan. 11. However, the OSAA executive board plans to meet Dec. 7 to update the membership on where it all stands.

“It’s surely not looking like a Dec. 28 start with competitions on the 11th … it could surprise us but not with the way things have been going,” Woosley said. “We’re really hoping they do a later season and there’s talk about that. I don’t know how much truth there is to it.”

There has been some talk circulating about the possibility of pushing back the start dates and then having some team seasons running at the same time, which would likely be a challenge for small schools such as Philomath.

“I’m not too concerned about that because if we have any type of season, we’ll do our best with what we have,” Woosley said. “Who knows what that season looks like. I don’t know if it means no tournaments and it’s just duals.”

Woosley said there has also been talk about staging separate classification-specific state tournaments.

“It’s up in the air but I’m more of an optimistic guy than most that we’ll have some sort of season,” Woosley said, mentioning April as a possible time frame on the table. “As bad as it is right now, I think by then we’ll have some things figured out. I’m just hoping.”