It is a sight never before seen at Evans High School. Maybe at Lakeside or even Greenbrier, but not at Evans.
It is the sight of more than 40 wrestlers on the mat at one time, seen daily in the Evans football field house.
"I have about 42 kids right now, and I'll have three more that I'll get after the semester. They were academically ineligible, so by January we'll have about 45," Evans wrestling coach Bill Madigan said.
"A lot of the kids are freshmen. I don't know if they were just trying to find something to do or what, but they were interested to see what it's all about."
The nearly four dozen athletes who went out for wrestling tryouts this year was a far cry from years past at Evans. Last season, the team struggled to fill all of its weight classes. This season, there's a different problem.
"This year we have people fighting for a chance to wrestle," senior Dezmone Musgrove said. "That's only going to make us better."
Musgrove is one of three team captains on this season's squad. He's also one of only a few on the team with any significant experience on the wrestling mat. The 135-pound wrestler reached the state tournament last season and will be expected to serve as a leader this year.
"Dezmone Musgrove and Trey Golston - we can build anything off of those two," Madigan said. "We have a solid foundation, which helps."
Madigan is in his first year as wrestling coach. Before he can begin his bid to catch up with the more established and successful wrestling programs at Lakeside and Greenbrier, he said his first task is in-house.
"We're trying to instill a whole new attitude in the program. They've had so many different coaches. Nothing's been consistent," he said. "That's what I'm trying to change - the whole attitude about wrestling within the school and within the team. Once they get it, I think it'll all click."
One of Madigan's changes is visible already. On game days, each wrestler is required to wear a dress shirt and tie to school. Madigan, who previously coached in New York, said he's trying to change the image of a sport that isn't as popular in the Augusta area.
Musgrove, a transfer from Central Gwinnett, agreed: "Where I came from we had our own wrestling room. We have to fight for room here. We're in a field house."
Evans' next match is Tuesday at Greenbrier.
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