Fulton Hornets wrestling team eager to win it all

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FULTON - The Fulton Hornets wrestling team looks to finally become state champions this weekend in the 86th MSHAA Wrestling Championships in Columbia at Mizzou Arena.

The Hornets finished 4th as a team in the championships in 2014, and 2nd last season behind Oak Grove High School. The team is now shooting for its first state championship as a team since 1981.

Senior wrestler Josh McClure said the Hornets are going back to Mizzou Arena with a chip on their shoulders.

“It kind of lit a fire in us. We were pretty upset after last year, it was really close. It kind of rekindled a flame that we had last year, and it made us even more hungry to get it this year after feeling what it felt like to come up that short.”

The Hornets continue to show in numbers with 11 guys qualifying to compete in the championships after having 12 last season.

“It’s a culmination of everybody working together, hard working, good wrestling partners, all the hours they’ve spent drilling and working out. It’s a testament to the team and the work they’ve put in,” Coach Eric Hudson said.

Hudson has been a part of the Hornets wrestling coaching staff for the past 12 years, with 10 years as head coach.

Hudson believes having a large number of seniors on the team has helped its chances at winning it all this weekend.

“They get an idea of what it takes to be competitive. Those seniors provide us some leadership and takes some burden off the coaches as far as not having to worry about where a kid is or what they’re doing. Because a lot of times those seniors can help take care of those things and take care of those problems before they become problems.”

Trenton Klines, another Hornet senior, has been wrestling since he was four years old. He believes this next weekend is one he will never forget.

“It’s very bittersweet. I hate to lose the team that I have, I love all the guys to death. We’ve had that in our minds all year long, that’s what we’ve been talking about as a team since the last day of state last year."

What these seniors will miss the most is the brotherhood they have built over the past four years.

“If one of us goes down we’re all there to pick him up. If one of us has success we’re all there to support him,” McClure said.

But these seniors said they will not let hopes of winning the championship foreshadow each match they have to win to get there.

Senior Zach Brenner said he is going to take each match step-by-step.

“You never know until Saturday night.”