PILOT MOUNTAIN — The Pilot Mountain Middle School wrestling team recently completed its second consecutive year of excellence, continuing to lay the foundation for a program of which students, parents and the surrounding community can be proud.
This year’s team finished a sterling 13-1, narrowly missing a second straight undefeated season. Last year had seen the PMMS team use a perfect record to claim the school’s first championship in the eight-team Foothills conference.
The powerful Ravens again soared through conference play with an undefeated record this year, claiming the conference before narrowly falling to the Gentry team by 2 points in the tournament championship.
According to Head Coach Jeff Stein, his team gave a strong overall effort with numerous top finishers. “And just about all of our wrestlers finished in the top four (of their class),” he continued.
Stein, now in his third year as coach, noted the contributions of Assistant Coach Troy Bryant as an important factor in the team’s development.
“And we’ve had a lot of good fortune,” he continued. “We’ve had some kids come to us with a wrestling background. Some of them had done AAU and already knew the basics. That speeds up what we’re able to teach them. And we’ve gotten a lot of support from the faculty.”
Stein said the recent success should pay long term dividends for the program.
“I hope this will help the program’s future,” he explained. “We’re trying to get kids to come out. We want the kids that may not be playing other sports. I think the success we’ve had will bring out greater numbers. We’re already having more students coming out to watch and support us. This has brought a positive attitude throughout the student body.”
While next year’s team will lose several important contributors, Stein also holds high hopes for the coming season.
“We’re losing a lot of key eighth-graders,” he noted, “but we have some seventh-graders coming back that should be ready to step up. They’ll continue to grow and mature and we feel confident that they’ll be able to step up and fill shoes, giving us a solid nucleus to build on.
“They’ve worked with and learned from our eighth-graders throughout this year,” Stein continued. “Now, I hope that leadership the eighth-graders have shown will carry on to them and they’ll help the ones coming up under them.
“Our success is good for the East Surry High School program and it’s good for Pilot Mountain,” Stein said. “There are a lot of positives right now in our program and this year was a big step.”