With two top seeds, the Champlain Valley Union High School wrestling team has high hopes heading into this weekend’s Vermont wrestling state championships at Vergennes High School.
Jacob Griggs and Jarrett Legg, both seniors, will lead the Redhawks into the annual competition as the team looks to dethrone reigning champ Mount Anthony, winners of the last 28 wrestling state titles.
“Our goal is to score 200 team points…which will beat our all-state runner-up performance last year,” said CVU coach Gunnar Olson. “I want for the individuals to find their zone and just let it all out.”
Last season, the Redhawks finished with 164 points, good for second behind MAU, and Griggs and Legg both ended with runner-up titles.
This year, Legg has moved up to the 138-pound class and Griggs has transitioned to the 195-pound group.
“They have eight individual tournament championships between them so far,” Olson said of his two captains. “(They) are poised to deliver a solid performance.”
With Legg and Griggs leading the way, the CVU team performance will depend on a younger group than last year’s runner-up squad. Coming off a second place performance at the NVAC Championships helped the group gain some much-needed experience.
“Having won the conference twice in the last three years and then to be runner-up is a tough loss for us,” Olson said. “All we took from that event is the confidence knowing we can be competitive with an experienced team even though we are young.”
With NVAC winner Essex planning to battle with CVU in the state championship meet, Olson has high hopes for his group.
“We feed off each other’s energy and it actually has a positive effect on everything from our reaction time to our conditioning level,” Olson said. “We are a young team and we’re up against kids that have been in the game for far longer.
“The only way to get past them is to build enough momentum as a group.”
The state championship meet begins on Friday, Feb. 24, and continues on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Vergennes High School.