FOREST - Jefferson Forest senior wrestler Peyton Woodall said, "You get your butt kicked in here, in the [wrestling practice] room, so you don't get it out there [on the mats in competition]."
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He and his teammates have taken that to heart. "To be a JF wrestler, to be on this team is just phenomenal. You got this group of guys that will go to battle for you no matter what the circumstances are, if you're outnumbered, out manned, outgunned, these guys will watch your back," Woodall said earlier this week.
Following Christmas the team knew it was going to have just 10 wrestlers for the rest of the season. That means in any dual meet, they'd automatically forfeit four matches and 24 points to their opponent.
Most of the time that didn't matter this season. Against rival Brookville, JF gave up those 24 points but still won 39-31 at Brookville.
JF followed that regular season win by winning the Seminole District tournament title. The victory ended Brookville's 44-year run as champions.
•7 of JF's 10 wrestlers are national honor society students
•170-pounder Will Norvelle is regularly 153 pounds but wrestled up several weight classes in order to help the team score points.
•Eric Smith certified at 138 pounds but wrestled at 160 through most of the year.
•With new classification alignment the VHSL will crown six state team champions. In years past they crowned three (Group A, AA, AAA).
•JF coach Hutch Hutchinson said, "Next year we probably won't wrestle a lot of the Seminole District wrestling teams but we'll hopefully keep wrestling Brookville duals."
•Many in the wrestling community understand that in all likelihood 2014 was the final year for the Seminole District Wrestling Tournament. However, a concrete, final decision has not been made. "I would like to see it keep going," Hutchinson said.