By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– McKay Head Wrestling Coach Troy Thomas was not happy with how his team did during the Perry Burelson Tournament this past weekend as the Scots rolled out the mats for practice Monday afternoon.
“It was great,” said Thomas on the kids effort at practice Monday afternoon. “We had a really poor showing this weekend as far as our effort goes. Our JVs had excellent effort and performance, I was not so happy with the effort put forth by our varsity wrestlers.
“But we set the tone pretty early in practice and the kids really picked up well on it and they’re ready to come out here on scrape.”
Practice was fast-paced and intense with the demands that Thomas was expecting from his athletes Monday. The kids were bouncing from one drill to another at maximum effort as they prepare for this week’s two home events as the Scots tried to vamp it back up for Thursday and Saturday.
“It’s pretty intense, I feel like people figured out how bad we did during the tournament,” said senior Shane Tennis on practice. “I’m pretty sure everyone’s using this to get better so we know what to do when we have that match on Thursday.”
“We’re just going back to the drawing board, scratching out things we did wrong and basically relearning things,” adds Norely Lara. “Just drilling more hard and taking things more seriously.”
For Shakota Weidman, who finished third in the girls bracket at the Cascade Tournament this past Saturday, she didn’t considered practice as intense, but as focused for the week ahead.
“It wasn’t intense, it was just focused,” she said. “We need to work harder so we can get good at the tournaments and our matches. As much as you work at practice is how much you can give at tournaments and matches.”
This intensity and focus has already started to fuel the McKay team with Thomas and his assistants going through things to work on from what they’ve seen from this past weekend with West Albany coming to open league match-play Thursday and the annual Herrin Holiday Tournament on Saturday.
For Tennis, he made it vocal that he’s looking to more than ready to move past how he did a few days ago as he looks to his final first league dual meet of the year and his last go-around in the Herrin Tournament.
“I’m so excited, I mean having the home events, like everyone says it’s home court advantage,” said Tennis. “In wrestling there really is no home court advantage, it’s whoever wants it more. I’m excited, I’m ready for it, I’m pretty sure everyone else is too.”
Lara’s excited for the opportunity to face talents that isn’t necessarily coming from the general Salem-Keizer area as she is used to in the past with West Albany coming to town.
“I’m pretty hyped because some of the kids who are freshman like me are going varsity for the first time, it’s like the first time going against other schools other than the Salem-Keizer ones.” Said Lara. “I’m pretty nervous, but no fully because at the tournament I got to see some of the schools we’re going against later on in the week how they wrestle and how my opponents are so basically I’ve been taking notes in my head.”
For Thomas, he knows the importance of having the community come in and see what Northeast Salem has to offer at McKay.
“It’s important to have events like this at our home facility where the community can come in and watch what these kids been doing and see how all their hard work comes to fruition.”
The Greater Valley Conference League Dual with the Bulldogs of West Albany Starts at 6pm with the JV with Varsity afterwards and the Herrin Holiday Tournament starts at 9am Saturday.