GREENCASTLE -- The South Putnam wrestling program moves forward in the 2009 season under the direction of first-year head coach Josh Hendrickson. Hendrickson believes hard work will propel the Eagles to successful heights this season.
The Eagles are a young squad, with the bulk of the team being underclassmen. Also, South Putnam is able to field most weight classes and beyond.
"We've practiced pretty hard so far; I think we're ready, as ready as we can be," Hendrickson said. "We're pretty young again. We have three seniors, one is injured, and other than that we have all freshmen and sophomores pretty much. So we're young again, but I think we'll do good.
"We have 19 guys, which is good. We about eight junior varsity wrestlers, which is kind of unusual -- almost a full team and we're only missing two weight classes. Other than that, we have a full team. We're pretty good with numbers. We have wrestle-offs every week and it's competitive, so it makes practice better when you have competition behind you," Hendrickson commented.
Hendrickson is looking at a core of three seniors to lead the way. It will be the work ethic and experience that will help lift the Eagles this season.
"Hard work and senior leadership. The seniors that we have are pretty good seniors, pretty good leaders. Two of them are four-year wrestlers, so they've been with it a long time and good leaders. That's definitely strength," he said.
The 2009 season is going to be one of adjustments for the Eagles, but as the season comes to its close, Hendrickson believes the team will be ready to go.
"I think, since we are so young, we definitely improve throughout the season. I think we'll watch some film and see what we're doing wrong, make some adjustments and practice what we need to practice. I definitely see improvement. I expect good things -- sectional, I expect us to be ready and wrestling well," he said.
Although the Eagles are a young squad, they have experience across the board. Hendrickson mentioned that only a few wrestlers have no experience, which is something he plans to utilize as the season progresses.
In his first year leading the program, Hendrickson explained what he has had to do to become their leader.
"I had to make them accept me for the coach as one. Our old head coach is actually on staff; he's still the assistant coach. I had to earn their respect and make them work the way I want them to work. I like to work hard and practice hard," Hendrickson commented.
When asked what he hoped to see as the team moves throughout the season, it was something all coaches hope to see -- steady improvement.
"I just want to see them get better and become better wrestlers," Hendrickson said. "I want to see them, if week one they wrestle a kid from North Putnam and get totally smashed, at the end of the season when they wrestle them again, I want to see solid improvement. I want to see they've made gains and become better wrestlers."