The Panthers are coming off a high where they left everything on the mat before taking a first-place finish in the John Smith Mountaineer Tournament.
Although JCCHS was missing one person from each weight class, they proved they can defy the odds.
“We only had nine wrestlers so that was a good deal. We’d given up a lot of weight classes,” said Daivon Ledford. “When it was football season, we were not doing that well but now that [the guys from the football team have joined us] we started picking it back up. So far we are doing a good job. Hopefully this year, we will make it to state.”
Ledford has a couple of first-place finishes of his own, which isn’t bad for a guy who picked up the sport just four years ago.
“Some of my brothers did it in middle school. When I was in basketball, I kind of wanted to do wrestling,” Ledford said.
Ledford’s siblings didn’t him show the ropes but he got his expertise from someone who knows the sport very well.
“All my training came from [Head] Coach [Jason] Powers,” Ledford said.
Competing in more than one sport means having plenty of choices when college recruiters come knocking at the door. Although he’d rather be on the gridiron next fall, Ledford noted he will entertain offers for college wrestling.
“I’d rather play football but some coaches have been talking to me about wrestling,” Ledford said.
Football allows players to watch their competitors on film yet wrestling poses a challenge where many walk into the situation blindfolded and Ledford says that makes the taste of victory a little bit sweeter.
“We really don’t know who we are going to go [up] against. I get really nervous because I’m wondering what this guy is going to do, what his shots are like and what he is going to do from top to bottom. I just get a game plan set in my head,” said Ledford.
“The greatest feeling is beating someone in wrestling,” said Ledford.