BY Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Wrestling is back in session at McKay High School.
The Green and Gold the Thursday before their opening tournament of the season at Cascade High School, held a fundraising pull-up challenge.
While the team cheered each other on, Royal Scot Head Coach Troy Thomas and assistant coach Tyler Thomas hopped into action on the pull up bar.
After speaking with parent’s who were tired of the traditional fundraising ways, the challenge was, in a way, getting the money straight to the program.
“So this is an example of where we cut out the middle man,” said Thomas. “It’s all profit for the wrestling team that we can spend on head gear, warm-up tops, new shoes and even entry fees.”
“It’s proof to their families that ‘hey I put in the hard work. I did this, I did 10 pull-up, 15 pull-ups’.”
The Royal Scot, headed by former McKay and Southern Oregon University student-athlete in Thomas will look to continue a college-isc practice into the 2015-2016 season behind the mantra of Dan Gamel:
“After you’ve wrestle, everything else in life is easy.”
Basically it doesn’t matter if you’re Kurt Angle, a novice at the sport, or in between. You’re expected to give it you’re all.
Everyone is competing with each other; wrestling for 20 minutes so that a six-minute match is a cake walk. They challenge their teammates like their like their own blood to make them better.
“That’s basically what we do,” said Thomas. “It’s fine if you’re not great with the technique, you’re not going to be the strongest guy, but you’ll be the hardest working guy.
“You will give 100-percent. There’s no reason to go half-ass, so that translate into intensity.”
And that has rubbed off on his players.
“I feel like that’s the type of environment you need for this type of sport and the coaches deliver,” said Matt Jarding. “They’re very well with what they do, they know what it’ll take to get this team to a high level and to state.
“They bring that college intensity and focus and they expect that from us high school teams and we’re starting to turn it around.”
This intensity that the Thomas Brothers, Tyler was also an alumni of McKay and had a successful career at SOU as well, have brought to the program in hopes to bring the program back to dominance.
The goal: To Finish in the Top half of the district and compete with powerhouses like Sprague and McNary.
“Long time ago we were up there, first and second in districts and that’s what I want to get back up to,” said Thomas. “Schools like Sprague and McNary that have been powerhouses since the 1980s and we want to bring McKay back to the GVC-Contentor.”
Individually, Thomas also believe his team can produce state qualifiers and even get some place or become a state champion.
“ I think we can have a state champion here or even a state placer in the state tournament,” said Thomas.
Senior Jamie Lara believes in what the coaches are preaching in how they’re setting them up in the long run.
“Our goals is always to finish on top, always winning and for us to do that, we have work everyday at 100-percent,” said Lara. “We’re only given two hours up here, this isn’t a mat room, we don’t have an extended time so this is all we get is two hours to give it our all.”
As practice was wrapping up and McKay worked together to roll up the mats as basketball practice started, you can sense something special about this team.
The Royal Scots will be traveling to Cascade High School to start the season in the Perry Burrelson Tournament. First match at 9am.
They’ll have three straight home matches following the tournament on December 10 (versus West Albany), December 12 (Herrin Hoilday Tournament), and December 17 (versus Sprague).
PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!
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