John Marshall Wrestling Off to Strong Start

Photo by Cody Tomer John Marshall’s Jordan Wood looks to pin Point Pleasant’s Caleb Lane in the 120 contest at the Wheeling Park Duals.

GLEN DALE — The success of the John Marshall wrestling program cannot be credited to any certain individual performance or individual leader but rather the commitment of a team of leaders who encourage each other to work hard and do their best for the good of the team.

A combination of one senior, one junior and a plethora of sophomores and freshmen make up the 2016 Monarchs’ squad with the underclassmen taking on significant roles early in their careers.

One sophomore who has accepted his role on the team is Brady Williams, who has served as the 220-pound grappler, has been very successful along the way and he explained what makes this year’s John Marshall group so special.

“There can’t be just one leader on the team,” he said. “The whole team has to be a leader. Everybody has to pull together as a team and everybody has to be a leader to win.”

The motto that “everybody has to be a leader” has been working for the Monarchs during the current campaign but having a head coach like Ted Zervos, along with his coaching staff, to set the idea into motion has been a significant part of the program’s success.

“We are having success because we stick together as a team,” Zervos said. “The kids support each other, back each other and encourage each other all of the time and they like to get out there and wrestle.

“They are not afraid to match up against quality kids. They take it as a challenge and they look forward to it. Sometimes they get spanked but they get better individually and as a team because of it. I just like how they don’t back down.”

There is no success for the Monarchs without the effort put forth and senior heavyweight Nathan Simmons has done his part to put the work in and set an example for the younger wrestlers.

“Simmons is the only senior on the team and he has been working really hard at being more offensive,” Zervos said. “His aggressiveness has improved this year and his offensive scoring is much better. He is a great leader for the team and he leads by example but also encourages others. He is a team player.”

Simmons went unbeaten in the Wheeling Park Duals at WesBanco Arena on Wednesday and Thursday to help the Monarchs claim sixth place out of 32 teams.

Leadership not only comes from the senior veteran but also from the young sophomores, such as Jordan Wood, Austin Love and Anthony Carman, who have already made an impact for John Marshall.

“Wood is our 120 wrestler who finished fourth in the state last year,” Zervos said. “He is having a nice season but he typically shines later on in the season and I am sure we will get that same spark out of him then.

“Jordan is also an outstanding leader, who is probably the most vocal leader on the team, and he expects success for himself.”

In the 126 weight class, Love also possesses a strong work ethic and the courage to take on any competitor in order to help his team win.

“Love never backs down from anybody, no matter how good the kid is on the other side,” his coach said. “He is a tough kid who works hard all of the time and is always looking to get better.”

Carman, a 138-pound grappler, has strung together a fine season for the Monarchs a season after finishing fourth in the state.

“Carman only has two losses this year,” Zervos said. “One is to a two-time defending state champion and he split with him this year.

“I have high expectations of him. He is very skilled and experienced for his age because he does a lot in the offseason.”

With so many underclassmen gaining success and experience early in their careers, one would believe that the upcoming seasons at John Marshall could be exceptional but coach Zervos made it clear that there is still work to be done to achieve the goals they want to reach.

“The future of the program is very bright,” he said. “However, you don’t get better because you are a year older. You get better because you work at it. These guys having success this year will hopefully translate into better junior and senior seasons for them but there is still all of that work needed before that happens.”