A quarter of the way through the wrestling season, the Dover Senators are still developing their rhythm on the mats. With a first-year head coach and some lineup changes, ups and downs are expected.
Through a handful of duals and several invitationals, the Senators are slowly but surely finding their way.
At the Yellow Jacket Invitational, Dover turned heads with a team second, while receiving the sportsmanship award. Overall, 11 Dover wrestlers placed seventh or higher, while Sam Arkuwoille (195) and Hugo Harp (285) took first place in their respective weight classes.
Along with standout performances at the Polytech and Yellow Jacket Invitationals, the Senators notched their first dual-meet victory of the year earlier this month against Laurel.
“My first win [as head coach] felt good, but I was not fully satisfied,” said head coach Alex Meade. “I judge performance more than a win and this has been a part of my success in the past.”
While leading a program for the first time comes with its own obstacles and challenges, Meade has leaned on a strong support system in his short time at Dover.
“Being a first year head coach has not been easy and is an ongoing learning experience,” Meade said. “Everyone in the administration, even other coaches, have been very supportive and that really helps me to learn my role.”
There are a lot of connections in the wrestling world throughout the state and it’s not hard to compare the bond between some coaches and players as a family. Meade says he’s benefited from that type of atmosphere as he continue to learn the ropes and is fortunate to have some great assistant coaches.
Meade has turned to fellow head coaches for advice, including former Dover head coach Aaron Harris, in Smyrna now, and Milford’s Don Parsley, who has helped lead the Bucs to five consecutive DII titles.
“When I run into issues or feel overwhelmed, I reach out to Coach Harris or Coach Parsley,” Meade said. “We have a great relationship that stretches back over 30 years, so I’m truly grateful for them.”
Meade and his staff are dedicated to creating their own culture built on the foundation left by his predecessor.
“Being a head coach is more than teaching wrestling in that I consider myself a life coach,” Meade said. “I talk to these young men about decisions they make when away from wrestling, choices during high school and options for their future.
“When a student leaves my program I want them to know that they have options such as college, trade school or the military.”