Taking it to the mat: Wrestler matures through program, helps team earn district title

As the time ticks off the clock, a wrestler learns what they are truly capable of. The first five minutes of the match takes everything a wrestler has, but all of the weariness fades away when they are down and has to push through the final minute to make sure their hand is raised at the end of the match. Wrestling is an immensely demanding sport and senior Caden Scott has spent the past four years conditioning and preparing for each final minute.

Caden started his high school career playing football his freshman year, but did not feel fulfilled. He discovered the wrestling team toward the end of his freshman year, and really became involved in it his sophomore year.

“He’s really grown up for the three years he’s been with me.” wrestling coach Michael Zito said. “He dabbled at wrestling a little his freshman year, but he never really showed up until the end, so he’s really only been here since his sophomore year. He came out of football, he was a smaller guy so he didn’t really get a lot of playing time in football, but he has taken to wrestling and my senior leader.”

He has grown mentally and physically through wrestling while improving his craft. Wrestling has tested him and has made him a better person.

“I’ve gotten a lot stronger and my endurance has increased,” Caden said. “My leadership skills have improved a lot since I have been in a position to encourage others when they were faltering in runs or when they wanted to eat a lot before weigh ins.”

He is the senior team captain this season and has been an integral part of holding the team together.

“He has been a great leader throughout the season.” senior wrestler Teya Villapando said. “He leads warm ups and he’s very encouraging to the younger wrestlers.”

Younger wrestlers look up to Caden as he pushes them to work on technique and endurance.

“Caden is very technical and shows the younger kids what to do,” Zito said. “He likes to have fun with the younger wrestlers, but he also lays down the rules and expectations. He is a big reason on why we won districts this year.”

Sports give many students a reason to get up and come to school while providing an environment of support and fun.

“Wrestling has been what I looked forward to every day,” Caden said. “The mornings are hard, I got to wake up early and go workout really hard, and there’s some days when I have no motivation to get out of bed that early, but despite that it’s always something I look forward to. The guys are great and super fun to hang out with.”

When an athlete falls in love with a sport, many of them view one of the worst parts as the last game or the last match. The end of an era for an athlete’s life and having to move forward and continuing to use the skills they learned in the sport they fell in love with.

“The most difficult part about wrestling is not getting to wrestle anymore,” Caden said. “I wrestled at my last district tournament, and I did pretty good. I’m sad that I don’t get to wrestle anymore after this year. I’m not good enough to go to college and wrestle, so it’s hard not being able to compete on that level anymore.”

The wrestling team advanced all fifteen wrestlers to regionals after winning the district championship.

“The district meet is my favorite memory of wrestling.” Caden said. “It’s hard knowing that was my last district meet, but it was the first time in four years that we took home the district title as a team. It was really cool to help bring back the title for Coach Zito. All of us have been working really hard this season to win, it’s exciting to see everything we’ve been working for pay off.”

Caden serves as a leader on the team and has helped this year’s team overcome people’s mindset on a young team.

“It was really awesome to win districts this year.” Zito said. “Everyone thought that this was going to be a rebuilding year since we graduated a handful of seniors. We proved that it wasn’t a rebuilding year, but that it was actually another stair step from where we left off last year. We’re only losing two seniors this year, so we’re going to pick up right where we left off next year.”

Caden plans to go to Texas A&M next year and be a member of the Corp of Cadets. The Corp at A&M defines leadership and pushes members past their limits mentally and physically. Caden has the makeup from wrestling to push through tough times and will continue to demonstrate leadership in college.

“Wrestling has built my leadership skills,” Caden said. “I’ll be able to better guide my fellow fish next year and help them improve. Later on in college the experiences I’ve gained in wrestling will make me a more effective leader in the corps.”