In just one month, The Colony wrestling team has gone from starting the season to preparing for the postseason.
The quest for a state title begins April 7 when the Cougars will travel to Frisco Lebanon Trail for the District 8-5A tournament. Male wrestlers who compete in weight classes 106 to 145 pounds will wrestle that day, followed by 152 to heavyweight on April 9. The girls division will be wrestled in its entirety on April 10.
The Colony head coach Chuck Brown said that the boys team will have enough wrestlers to fill each of the 14 weight classes.
Senior Hudson Herring and junior Josh Weatherall are the prohibitive favorites at 132 pounds and 106 pounds, respectively. Herring is undefeated on the season at 18-0. Weatherall, who set the school record for number of wins in a single season last year, is 14-1 and is ranked No. 1 in 5A at 106 by Wrestling Texas.
Weatherall hasn’t lost a match in which he has wrestled at lightweight – the only loss came when he was moved up one weight class, from 106 to 113, and stepped onto the mat to take on a Frisco Centennial wrestler.
On the girls’ side, senior Liz Grabiec, who competes in the 165-pound weight division, is 18-0.
"Hudson has just wrestled really, really well and talking to other coaches in area and watching some of the other kids, they feel that Hudson is one of the best in the area, if not the best in his weight class,” Brown said. “Liz, I think, is by far the best in her region and is a legit state finalist. When we go down to state, I think that she has a chance to win it all."
Grabiec’s quest for perfection has keyed a successful season for the Lady Cougars, who finished with a 15-3 record in duals. The Colony boys, meanwhile, went 9-8. No tournaments have been held thus far because of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’ll change because of the format of the postseason – though the district tournament will be broken up into two days, and Brown said that fans will be allowed to attend. But, his focus will be on his wrestlers.
“Our district is so tough,” Brown said. “If we show up well at districts, they'll go to regional. If they don't, they'll be done at the end of that day.”
On March 26, the UIL announced that the number of qualifiers from each weight class that will advance from the district tournament to the regional tournament, and then from the regional tournament to the state tournament, has increased from two to three. In previous years, the top four placers in each weight division qualify for the next round of the postseason.
“This is my 19th season in this wrestling district from my time in Frisco to my time here,” Brown said. “Our district, statistically, has been the toughest in 5A every year. It was one of those where we had third-place kids in our district be in the state finals, and those kids wouldn't have been represented at the state tournament.
“It was one of those deals that you don't know when a good kid is going to have a bad match, has a tough semifinal and gets beat by someone good and now doesn't have a chance to come back in. So, getting that third qualifier is huge. We were really happy to see that we get three."