McKay Wrestling Takes It Easy For Finals…Sort Of

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  With finals demanding their full attention in the classroom, at least the McKay Wrestling team can put their full focus on that this week with no competition in Dual Meets or Tournaments of any sort to interfere with their studies.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t practice to get better on Monday afternoon.

Behind the idea of healing up, the Royal Scots will also focus on fine tuning their techniques for their final dual meet next week and the District Tournament coming up soon after.

“It definitely is important to rest up our boo-boo’s and our owie’s to focus in on that high level technique that we need.” Said McKay Head Coach Troy Thomas.“There are some kids out there who know what they’re strengths are  and what their weakness’ are and we’re looking to improve on those weakness’’ and bring them up to speed.

The approach Thomas was going after during this down time in competition was focusing on one objective, one area for everyone to work on, a day since they’ve gone through a lot of learning to this point in the season.

“We try to do a lot with these kids,” said Thomas. “However I realized that sometimes they can only process so much information at once.  So like today, it’s keeping your hands out in front.  The second line defense drill, keeping those hands out front, getting ready to fend shots.

“Then something it’s going to be something different.  That way,  you know that for this two hour practice, you have something that you know you have something you need to work on.”

For Andy Rubio, who won the 160 pound weight bracket at the Tigard Tournament this past weekend, said that there’s always room for improvement.

Bryce Clifton (Blue Shirt) and Manny Miranda (Green Shirt) going through a drill during Monday’s Practice (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“(Since) we have no competition, we can work on the things we (are) slacking in and improve on the stuff that we need to improve on since it’s Finals Week and we don’t have a dual or anything,” said Rubio.

Just because there’s no competition doesn’t mean that Troy Thomas and his coaching staff would let their team take it easy.  They are still moving around at the same clip as they were as if they had a Dual Meet or a tournament this week.

“There’s a lot of intensity in this room, everything in this room is intense,” described Rubio on the practice atmosphere.  “We’ll go balls to the wall today, all this week actually and improve on everything we need to improve on.

“There’s always room for improvement.  I feel like we’re one of the most conditioned teams around and we work very hard.  There’s not one person in this room that doesn’t work hard.”

As practice rolled on up on the second floor of the McKay High School Gymnasium, the Scots on the Mats are shaping their skills for one last final push for Districts and State.

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 or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!

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