FORT MILL — The smell of sweat permeated the Nation Ford Falcons’ wrestling room last week as the team under new head coach Leon Boulware looks to turn the corner this year.
Boulware, who came from Lancaster High School, said the numbers could make a difference this year.
“We got 33 out,” he said. “We got a lot of guys coming back that use to wrestle.”
The newcomers are joined by seniors like Michael Allen, Collin Godbout and Houston Vandiver and underclassmen Brady Hensley, who are expected to lead the team.
With the increase in wrestlers showing interest, Boulware hopes to see fewer matches forfeit for lack of participation.
“We are getting them ready to compete,” Boulware said. “They know what we expect out of them.”
Boulware won’t be making it easy on the team his first year. He has scheduled Nation Ford to wrestle at least seven of the top 20 teams in the state, not to mention powerhouses out of North Carolina such as North Gaston, Lake Norman and Weddington.
“I expect them to understand the philosophy we are bringing in,” Boulware said. “We want the tempo to be high paced with aggressive wrestling.”
Boulware is hoping to take the next step with the Falcons by making the playoffs for the first time.
“Our goal is to get guys over the hump and get more state champions,” he said.
Nation Ford opens the regular season on the road Dec. 3 against 13th ranked Dutch Fork and Columbia. The first dual home meet is Dec. 16 against Irmo.