Parkview Wrestlers New Coach and Senior Experience

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Parkview High School’s winter wrestling season began in October with new wrestlers and a new coach named Josh Shelton. The season practice started on September 28, 2021, while matches began on December 6. The wrestling team has had twelve varsity events with team duals and individual tournaments. Coach Shelton described, “We were 6-7 as a team which is an incredible feat as we were missing as many as five out of fourteen weight classes at times. Our JV went 4-1 in duals placing 3rd at the Gainesville Duals.” This team was led by seniors Hayden Hucknall, Jason Snipes, Rebeca Juarez, and Jason Weido. This winter season, Rebeca Juarez, Marcus Mapp, Matthew Murray, Shadab Janiy, Jordan Willie, Caleb Hamilton, Antonio Rodriguez, Antoine Glasgow, and Kevin Julian won individual tournaments. Before the season ends, Traditional Area is coming up on January 29, Sectionals at Discovery on February 4-5, and State at Macon Coliseum on February 10-12. 

Sixteen years have passed since Coach Shelton joined the wrestling world. “It all started just wrestling around with my brothers,” said Shelton. This led him to Woodland High School, becoming a four-year letterman for wrestling, including winning Region Championships, Country Championships, and two times state placer at Woodland. Later, Coach Shelton was recruited to Truett McConnell University on a wrestling scholarship during his senior high school year. He ranked 16th in the nation at the Georgia State Championships twice. He then transferred to the University of Georgia to earn a degree in Education with a focus on Economics and History. 

Shelton’s history with wrestling fostered a passion for the sport. “I want to share that passion with these wrestlers here at Parkview,” said Shelton. He came to Parkview at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. During his first semester, he taught World History to tenth graders. However, because of the need for Social Studies teachers with his experience, he is now teaching Economics to seniors. This is his first year as a head coach, with three years of experience coaching at youth wrestling during college, followed by his time as a coach at Grayson.

Wrestling is a demanding sport, since wrestlers are required to work hard. During the week, the athletes train every day after school under dietary restrictions to achieve the weight needed for tournaments. Coach Shelton explained, “It’s the just mental toughness that you have to have to go through six minutes of Wrestling. It just takes a lot, and so in practice, we demand a lot from our wrestlers to push through so that they can have the conditioning, the strength, and the technique to get through those six minutes against their opponent.”

The previous coaches had a good program which laid a foundation for Coach Shelton to build on. He said, “There’s already a culture built here. The main thing I changed was just my different style of Wrestling. Just a little bit different technique, and just added more of a strength program during the season on top of conditioning and technique.” There are not only changes for the wrestlers but also the coach. New coaches can have a rough start, even for adults. “The first part is challenging going through the first steps of being a head coach and going through all the behind the scenes stuff that you have to do paperwork wise[…] the wrestlers were very open and to learning a new style learning from a new coach,” explains Shelton.

Shelton plans for his wrestlers to grow and continue their hard work. He said, “Throughout this offseason, we’ll be doing some freestyle like during the spring season. We’ll have some summer wrestling, and so we’ll be building this program even further than we were able to this season and hopefully see even more success in the following seasons.”

One of their team captains is a Senior student named  Rebeca Juarez. She has four years of experience in wrestling. She recalled, “I started freshman year, which was the first-year that girls Wrestling was sanctioned in Georgia. So it was the first year that we were going to have a state tournament. So I saw that, and I’ve always wanted to do a combat sport. But I’ve never been interested in boxing. So I decided I would do wrestling.” 

However, starting something new isn’t always easy. Juarez explained, “There have been a lot of times where even my own teammates doubted me and stuff.” Even when people doubted Juarez, she didn’t quit or give up. Juarez says, “We always talk about you leaving blood, sweat, and tears. Man is literally blood, sweat, and tears like blood in this room. I’ve cried in this room and sweated the most in this room. I’ve had a difficult time, but then some days, it’s all worth it.” She didn’t give in to the pain and toughness of the sport, saying, “Wrestling is such a difficult sport to excel in that when you do like it’s, it’s just the best feeling.” 

As the end of Wrestling nears in February, Wrestlers have had multiple experiences. In their recent tournament with East Coweta, Juarez described, “We placed fourth…So we did our best, you know, we tried our best to be up there with those big teams.”

As they continue training, they “have area coming up which is the individual stage of playoffs for us where you go from area sectionals and then state ultimately at Macon,” explained Coach Shelton.