SHELBY -- The Glasgow wrestling program is known for its storied traditions. And perhaps the best example is the annual “Gracie Walk” during the Parade of Athletes at the state tournament.
The Scotties line up in a single file row, with their heads down, the hoods on their warm-up sweats pulled up, and their hands on the shoulders of the teammate in front of them.
For a moment with so much fanfare and celebration, the Scotties' entrance stands in stark contrast to the smiles and waves from the other teams in attendance.
It’s a display that sends a clear message: Glasgow is here for business, not spectacle.
In 2021, the tradition looked a little different. With the tournament split into three different locations and the Parade of Athletes excluded from the schedule, the Scotties kept the “Gracie Walk” tradition alive by snaking through other wrestlers warming up on the mats before Friday’s first round.
And over the course of the next 48 hours, Glasgow once again proved that it meant business. The Scotties claimed their second straight State B/C team title, and 14th overall, completely unfazed by the change of venue and disruption to the season.
“We'd wrestle in a barn if we had to,” said Glasgow head coach Jory Casterline. “So it don't matter to us where we're at, we're going to come to wrestle.”
Glasgow topped the B/C field with 181 points, outpacing Huntley Project by 30 points. The Scotties were led on the mats but five finalists, which yielded three individual state champions.
Colten Fast (152 pounds) and Dylan Nieskens (205) each claimed their third consecutive state titles, while heavyweight Mayson Phipps earned his first after finishing third as a sophomore and second as a junior.
“We've been there for each other, our whole life growing up wrestling together,” Nieskens said of his fellow seniors. “And it's always been our dream and our goal to get to where we are.”
For such a storied program, the Scotties didn’t arrive at back-to-back titles overnight. Before claiming the 2020 State B/C championship, Glasgow hadn’t won a team title since 2010. And there were some lean years over the following decade.
The Scotties finished 24th at state in 2014, the year before Casterline took over the program. They were 16th in 2015, seventh in 2016, sixth in 2017, third in 2018 and second in 2019 before the back-to-back titles over the past two seasons.
Maintaining that level of sustained success will be difficult in 2021, as all three individual state champions graduate this year. But the depth and the standards are high enough to continue competing for titles in the years to come.
“It's intense in the wrestling room,” Phipps said. “It's definitely one of the hardest rooms in the state. Everybody hates it at first, but now looking back at it, I love it. I love the sport.”
“We talk about the intensity level that we bring and those younger guys that came out out this weekend, they learned what we were talking about,” Casterline said.