High School Wrestling

Waters anxious to put own stamp on Northgate program

by Doug Gorman

Northgate first-year wrestling coach John Waters isn't going to gauge the success of this year's team based on wins and lows.

He would rather see improvement each time he rolls out the mat.

'Winning is important, but just improving and making them feel good about themselves, and gaining confidence is what I really want to see them do. Winning will come with time,' he said.

Waters takes over for longtime coach Adrian Anderson who stepped down last season after coaching three state champions. They culminated with fourt ime undefeated winner Tyler Askey, who eventua l ly signing a scholarship to the University of Virginia.

Waters knows he has some big shoes to fill, but is excited about the challenge.

This year's Northgate squad is a mix of both experienced and inexperienced wrestlers, some who had to be talked into coming out for the sport by Waters.

'We are trying to teach the right thing, that there is a right way to win,' he said. 'We want to give them a good mind set.'

The 27-year-old wrestled at Grayson High School and then at Central Michigan University.

It was longtime Grayson High wrestling coach Steve West , a friend of Anderson's, who suggested Waters would be a perfect fit to join the Vikings' coaching staff.

'He has a wrestling background,' Anderson said. 'He is going to do fine.' Waters wants to build on what Anderson started. He doesn't shy away from reminding his team about guys like Askey, but he knows it is important they set their own mark.

It starts by promoting the sport, especially to younger wrestlers.

'There's a club program here in the area now,' he said. 'We are going to get up there,' he said.'It is just going to take some time to build a winning program. it might not happen right away. These boys are definitely, motivated. They are good kids. I am proud of them, every time they, step on the mat because it shows me they are working hard.'

Although the Vikings are rebuilding, they have already beaten Spalding County and Cherokee County in dual meets.

The Vikings are getting some solid support from some veteran wrestlers. Conner Lawson (145-pounds), Nick Martin (220) and Angel Fuentes (132) are among the veterans expected to lift Northgate to a solid season.

Already the new wrestling coach is getting plenty of backing.

'We are making tremendous gains,' Waters said. 'We are making tremendous gains. It is just going to take some time. We are getting a lot of support from parents.'



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