Johnson, Flloyd return as state qualifiers from a year ago

The “Havelock Way” is the direction the Rams’ wrestlers are hoping to follow this season.

And that way is an all-in battle toward a conference title.

“This team is more of a team. With what we have now, everyone is all-in,” said Havelock wrestling coach Chase Holleman. “We started a new thing called the ‘Havelock Way’ and everybody is all-in for all six minutes (of a match), putting in the work. The team is focused on the main goals we set.”

The Rams have a talented cast back in the mix, led by returning state qualifiers Tanner Johnson and Destin Flloyd. Johnson is a senior and Flloyd is a junior.

“We just have to make everyone work harder and get everyone on the same page,” Johnson said. “We all have to work for the same goal and that’s to have everyone qualify (for state).

“Everyone has some sort of experience and they pick up things really well and I am excited about that.”

Tanner Stamper-Smith was injured for most of last season, but the fierce grappler is back and expected to compete for a conference and regional title.

The Rams also have Keegan Margroupis, Zachariah Drysdale, Emmanuel Villegas and Kendall Frazier back.

“The guys are working hard,” Holleman said. “A conference championship and a regional championship is something we always work for. We try to meet those goals first.

“We have quite a bit of talent this year, but they have to realize if they put in the work, good things will happen.”

Even though Havelock lost Kevin Garay from last season, Holleman said the offseason workouts have been the best it has been in years. He hopes that translates to the mat.

“With the group coming back, we have the potential to take back the conference. To do that, we have to get through West Craven, West Carteret and Swansboro,” Holleman said. “We’ve had probably the best offseason and preseason in three or four years.”

Flloyd and Johnson have the state tournament experience, but Holleman expects more than just those two to be wrestling in the state championships.

“They both have potential to place at states this year. They just have to keep putting in the work,” he said. “If those other guys do well, we can get some other state qualifiers.

“If we keep everyone healthy, good things will happen this year.”

Adam Thompson is sports editor of the Sun Journal.