Trumbull wrestling will follow CIAC protocol at practice

Trumbull coach Charlie Anderson is doing the best he can for his wrestlers.

Trumbull coach Charlie Anderson is doing the best he can for his wrestlers.

David G Whitham / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Trumbull wrestling coach Carlie Anderson is pragmatic when it comes to the CIAC wrestling season being canceled.

“You might not agree but the DPH (Department of Public Health) makes the rules,” he said. “You can jump up and down and scream or you can say ‘okay what am I going to do to make it better’.”

Trumbull wrestling will practice under CIAC guidelines that limit wrestling to small group conditioning and non-contact skill building.

“I will split the kids into two or four cohorts depending on how many we have,” Anderson said about workouts that began Jan. 25. “I’ll sanitize the mats and I’ll have half of my kids in front of me in the 10-foot practice circles.”

Wrestlers will wear marks, work on stance, motion, sprawls, stand ups, sits out and turn ins in circles by themselves.

Anderson said: “We’ll do that for 20 to 25 minutes then what happens is we will flip flop the kids. I’ll sanitize the mats and that group will go outside and that group will come in. That group will do what the first group did on the mat and the other group will do outside and do running, sprints, jumping and whatever else we are going to do with conditioning outside.”

The wrestlers will be familiar with the routine.

“These are drills and skills that we actually have the kids do six or seven times, only now they won’t do it with a partner,” Anderson said. “Because they will do motion, stance, shots…I won’t say they won’t lose a year, but it will be something to maintain some continuity with the program.”

Anderson is concerned with the loss of wrestlers. Will they want to do condition only?

“When you tell them it’s conditioning without contact, well that doesn’t sound fun to me,” Anderson said. “Plus, you are still going to have apprehension because the state says wresting is a high-risk sport and now you have to practice. Our parents that have kids on the team understand we aren’t going to put them at risk, but it’s been hard to recruit. I usually get 20 freshman a year, I’m at seven or eight.”

Trumbull seniors won’t compete this season.

“I talked to my seniors I told them I feel really bad, but that this isn’t the worst thing that is going to happen to them (in life),” Anderson said. “I do understand their frustration. I probably have five seniors that could have placed in LL’s this year. I would be surprised if they didn’t.”

Those seniors have been invited to workout with the team.

“I’ve offered seniors the opportunity, but I told them I totally understand if this is not what you want to do,” he said. “ I told them that if you do come out, I need you to make 100 percent commitment. Coaches have stock speeches and one of mine is: ‘You guys show the younger kids what right looks like.’ A couple said yes, I’ll do it. Others said that this isn’t what they signed up for and they weren’t going to participate. I get that, no hard feelings.”

Anderson admits that the pandemic will halve a longer shelf life than one season.

“I think we are going to see effects of COVID-19 in the state for maybe the next four to five years,” he said. “No matter how you slice it, juniors are going to come back without a year of competition. Even (outside) clubs can’t do contact, so I think wrestling is going to have a skill dip the next four to five years.”

The internal impact on Trumbull will be noteworthy.

Anderson said: “Next year I will recruit again and hopefully get a bunch of sophomores and get my 20 freshmen, but they will be without anything. I do have some freshman and a couple of them I think could crack the lineup. They will have to try and crack my lineup again next year too.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354