TOWNSEND -- Last season, the Townsend wrestling team posted its best finish at the state tournament since the 2010-11 season with a sixth-place finish.
Every Bulldog is looking to top that this year.
"I'm just going to try my best. I'm not looking for anything amazing or trying to set new records. I'm just trying to do a personal best on myself," said Ty Steele. "I want to help carry the team at the 160-pound weight, but if I can't do that then, you know, I'll just try my best every place I go."
When competing, the only factors are the two wrestlers and the referee. Much like golf or singles tennis, there's only one person athletes can look at following a win or loss: themselves.
On the surface, wrestling only features a team aspect when staring at the scorecard at the end of a dual or tournament. However, it's the countless hours spent practicing and training along one another that's built a brotherhood in the Townsend wrestling room.
"It is a very individual sport, but because you spend so much time with each other, you really become a team and it feels like you're brothers pretty much," said Will Lane. "It really bonds you together -- spending as much time in the gym and working your heart out to reach a common goal."
"When you're wrestling, you are just your individual match," said Jadon Lamb. "You have your entire team cheering you on, everybody helping you out, helping you down, everybody just, you all come together closer."
Bulldogs head coach John O'Dell sees that atmosphere every day he steps into practice and knows his team has the potential to be something special, even if it means getting yelled at by officials from time to time.
"Where you really see it start to happen is in a dual match, when the kids are looking up at the scoreboard and they realize what they do on the mat right then matters. They'll celebrate with a kid getting his first win in a dual match. That big first varsity win for a kid in a dual match is huge and all the kids know and they recognize that and celebrate with them," said O'Dell, who then began to chuckle. "We actually get a lot of warnings from officials because our kids celebrate a lot and congratulate each other and want to be right on the mat edge, but that's a penalty I'll take as a coach."
The Bulldogs will open their 2019-20 season in Cascade at the Badger Invitational on Dec. 6.