By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — Marysville Getchell wrestling coach Todd Freeman didn’t plan to fail.
When Freeman took the job to be the first ever varsity wrestling head coach at Marysville Getchell High School, winning a match or two wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. Freeman wanted to win and win a lot
So far it shows.
The Chargers are 5-5 on the season and have had more success than any other varsity sports program so far at the new school. With matches this week against Shorewood — who the Chargers have already beat once this season — and Lynnwood, victories in both matches would all but assure Getchell of a winning season.
“The main thing that I knew as soon as I started the program was, I didn’t want them to come in with the concept that we are a new program and because we are a new program we aren’t going to have success,” Freeman said. “So, our first match we beat Shorewood and after the first match, some of the kids were like, ‘Coach you weren’t real excited, that was our first win in our first match ever.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but you’ve got to understand, I expect that. And I want you to expect that.’”
Freeman told his wrestlers that they should expect to have a winning season and that they should expect to be successful every time out. Based on what the team has done on the mat, it looks like they have bought in.
“We get to set the standard for everybody else that comes up,” senior wrestler Luis Cardona said.
Freeman said that in order to be successful the culture has to be positive from the very beginning.
“I love the football coaches, I’m a football coach, but I want to make Marysville Getchell a wrestling high school,” Freeman said. “I want people to think when they think about Marysville Getchell in the next four or five years, ‘They have a good wrestling program.’ Our other sports programs will come around, they have good coaches, they will. But I want them to immediately start thinking, ‘They won right away.’”
Helping to make the team successful is the fact that the Chargers have over 35 wrestlers out for the team this season. A number that has actually grown since the season started, something that Freeman said is very rare in high school wrestling. Freeman also added that the Chargers are able to fill every weight class for each match, something that gives his team an advantage over other schools who have to take forfeits at certain weight classes.
Freeman certainly brings a wealth of experience to his wrestlers at Marysville Getchell. He was an assistant coach at Arlington High School for 17 years and the head coach at Cascade High School for five years. As senior Zach Perkins tells it, Freeman’s “win-now” attitude is just the type of motivation that the team needs.
“I think, in a way it puts pressure on us, but it’s a pressure that we want,” Perkins said. “It’s not like a bad type of pressure. It’s like he is pushing us to obtain our goals.”
For Cardona* and Perkins, being two of the team’s senior leaders, they feel a responsibility to make sure that the program continues to head in the right direction even after they are gone.
“There are lots of kids who have not wrestled before here,” Cardona said. “They are juniors and seniors too. We feel like we have to show them what wrestling is all about. It’s not just about fighting. It’s about responsibility and respect toward your opponent and toward yourself.”
Freeman expected success and his team did as well, but Perkins said, maybe not this much.
“We expected to do pretty good, we didn’t know we were going to do this good,” Perkins said. “We knew we had a bunch of pretty good wrestlers already carried on from (Marysville Pilchuck) because we all wrestled for MP last year. There are a lot of freshman and first-year wrestlers that are doing a lot better than we thought they would.”
“And they have lots of heart. Everyone has lots of heart. We all want it,” Cardona added.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Correction, Jan. 10, 2012: Luis Cardona’s last name was misspelled in the photo credit and throughout the rest of the story.