Wrestling Rivals Practice Together

November 21, 2017

In order to keep its wrestling team going without its coach, Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., has recently started taking part in intracity practices at Frederick High School. According to The Frederick News-Post, Mike Chavez, Athletic Director at Thomas Johnson, was determined to keep the wrestling program going until he could find a replacement coach. He said Terry Leishman, who coaches wrestling at Frederick, and Leishman's assistant, Mike VanHorn, were willing to help, and that Frederick's proximity to Thomas Johnson made it an ideal choice.

“Terry said, ‘You guys are more than welcome to come over for as long as you guys need to,’” Chavez said. “I thanked them for reaching out and helping us to maintain a program. Because when you lose a program, you feel like you’re never going to get it back.”

VanHorn supported the partnership, not wanting Thomas Johnson to miss a season.

“I thought it was a great idea,” VanHorn said. “A lot of these kids, they met for the first time. But they were sweating together, practicing together. It was great.”

Leishman said it would be unsafe for his school's wrestling team to practice without the supervision of a qualified head coach, so he supported collaborating in order to prevent Thomas Johnson's wrestlers from being unable to practice.

“It can be unsafe at times if you don’t what’s going on,” Leishman said. “So my concern was the safety for the kids, the kids trying to get a good experience and maybe move on and teach other kids later on life.”

Julio Castro, a junior at Thomas Johnson, said he had been worried about the wrestling team disbanding without a coach, and that he was glad to wrestle along with his rivals in Thomas Johnson.

“It’s actually been fun,” Castro said. “We’ve been meeting people, we’ve wrestled them before. We made new friends with our rivals, so it’s going to be a fun season.”

Randy Samayoa, a sophomore wrestler for Frederick, expressed similar approval for the collaboration.

“We almost feel like one team,” he said.

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