The Havelock Rams have a richly steeped history when it comes to being great in the sport of wrestling.
This year, they are young, but head coach Pat Whitford said that two junior leaders will get his younger kids to grow up faster and make for a dominant team.
“Havelock has a great wrestling tradition and our goals are to win the conference championships and then win the duals,” Whitford said.
“We want to be able to go out there and dominate our competition. Last year we won the conference championship, but lost the duals to Jacksonville, so we want to get them both this year,” Whitford said.
Jacksonville and West Carteret are expected to be the Rams’ most threatening competitors.
Ryan Davis and John Ellis are the two juniors that Whitford said are the team’s leaders and captains.
Davis placed sixth in the state as a freshman but didn’t place last year as a sophomore and Ellis has improved over both of his first two seasons.
“They are the kind of kids that any program would love to have and I am very glad to have them. They lead by example with their hard work,” Whitford said.
The Rams have had two early season tournaments in the Brawl at the Beach at West Carteret and the Bulldog Duals at Dixon High School. Ellis is undefeated through both tournaments at 152 pounds.
“My goal is to make the state finals this season and place at states,” Ellis said. “I have been working very hard lifting weights and running during the summer and I went to some wrestling camps at Lehigh University and at a camp in Raleigh.”
Davis has some weight fluctuations but Whitford expects him to compete in the 132-pound division.
“I think all we need to be the team that we can be and should be is for our younger guys to come along and continue to listen to the older guys and coaches and just for them to grow up,” Ellis said. “They are doing much better with it. Earlier in the year they were immature, but at the Dixon duals they seemed much better and improved. I just try to show them how to work hard and how to do moves the right way. I don’t want to rule over them, just want them to do the right things.”
Havelock opens its conference season Dec. 19 against Jacksonville.