The Smyrna Middle School wrestling team has done it again. For the 12th straight season, the Eagles went undefeated, bringing their winning streak to 127 straight victories.
To cap off the 8-0 season, this past weekend Smyrna took home the title from the end of season tournament, finishing in first place with 330 points, one point away from the tournament record; Smyrna broke the record last year. Moreover, nine wrestlers finished in first place at the tournament.
"It feels really good," said Smyrna head coach Matt Bivins. "That [going undefeated] was our goal we set at the beginning of the year."
Bivins said the team believed it could go undefeated again after their third match of the season – a 60-24 victory over Beacon. Bivins expected Beacon to be on one of the more difficult matches of the season but after defeating them pretty handily and seeing how the other matches were turning out, Bivins said the Eagles knew it could be another great year.
"Our goal now is to make it to 150 straight wins," he said.
To reach that next level, Bivins said it will depend on the players stating the coaches can only guide them so much; the wrestlers need to want that record.
Even though Smyrna did continue the win streak to 12 undefeated seasons, it wasn't easy. With numerous snow storms there were spans of time with little practicing and no home matches. The Fifer match was even cancelled. But these distractions didn't stop the Eagles from pushing through to the end of the season to the Annual Middle School Wrestling Invitational Championship, where Smyrna finished in first place with 330 points.
"We had 11 athletes in the finals of the tournament with a record nine champions," Bivins said. "We always have nine or 10 wrestlers in the finals but to walk away with nine champions is really great."
Wrestler Hunter Moyer said he felt satisfied this year's team didn't lose the win streak and that the wrestlers were able to keep the tradition going.
"I hope they keep it going after we're gone," Moyer said.
Larsen Wilson said the team did a really good job this year of listening to the coaches and of being disciplined.
"It feels good to know we helped keep the tradition going and not be that team to end the winning streak," Wilson said.
Jeremy Carrow said the coaches pushed the wrestlers hard and motivated them to win.
Bivins would like to thank his assistant coach Jim Hewes, and volunteer coaches Charlie and Brandon Poffenberger, David Brower, and Jason Baker for their help this season.
Hewes said he was proud of the players, stating the returners stepped up as did some of the newer athletes. He said there were wrestlers throughout the year to fill in when needed including Desmond Wilson, who went 2-2 during the season and went on to win the tournament championship at heavyweight. Hewes said even the managers stepped up this year.
He's confident the team can continue its winning ways.
"We're not looking to lose for a very long time to come," Hewes said. "We have a group of sixth graders coming up that have wrestled in our feeder program; that will be a big boost to our program."
Bivins is looking forward to seeing how far Smyrna can take the win streak.
"I want to keep it going as long as possible. I don't care if it's 150 wins, 200 wins, or 250 wins. I just want to keep it going," Bivins said. "I tell them on the first day of practice, 'You don't want to be that team to end the streak. You don't want to be labeled as that team.'"