As appears in February 11, 2021 issue of THE FOCUS.
Written by Lauren Revord & Oliviah Klinski
What is going to be my first move? How am I going to take control of the match? What am I going to have to do to pin this guy? While sprinting up and down the halls of the gym and practicing shots and hand fighting, senior Connor Schelb runs through his pre-match routine. Having wrestled for thirteen years, Schelb has essentially perfected it. Relax. No need to stress. I have done this a million times. Just step onto the mat, shake hands, and wrestle. Do what you know how to do.
Schelb has been wrestling since he was five years old. He started at Pride Wrestling Club, but transferred to Thunder Youth Wrestling two seasons later. There he met fellow teammates, seniors Alex Noey and Daniel Revord. After more than a decade of wrestling together,the three are beginning their final high school season.
“We are all pretty close and have been in this together forever,” Schelb said. “We stick up for each other and make each other better. This is our last year together so we need to finish strong.”
Schelb, Noey, and Revord, along with senior Brennan Anderson, are this year’s team captains. They are all very adamant about setting an example for the underclassmen and hope to leave a strong legacy. They also have their eyes on earning a fourth district title, an accomplishment yet to be made by Chemic Wrestling.
“It feels good having all the hard work pay off for winning the last three districts and knowing that we can do it, and hopefully win it more than three times,” Noey said. “I hope to lead by example to all the underclassmen and keep the tradition going.”
Revord is also very excited about getting to lead the team this season. He is looking forward to wrestling another season with Schelb and Noey.
“Every year it’s like, ‘Oh here comes wrestling season again, I have to be with these two knuckleheads again,’” Revord said. “But as soon as the season starts we’re kind of like a little unit. Since we’ve been doing it for so long we know what we’re talking about. We can talk about our matches and grow from each other.”
Revord has not only had the help of Schelb and Noey to push him as a wrestler. He has also had the help of his dad, Jason Revord. Jason coached Schelb, Noey, and Daniel while they were at Midland Thunder, and is currently an assistant coach of the MHS wrestling team.
“They are great kids,” Jason said. “They are fun to coach. I love them as my own kids, and it’s cool to see them grow up from young kids to young men now.”
Having coached the three for over ten years, Jason has seen them all face injuries, weight-cutting, heartbreaking losses, and the other difficult parts of the sport. He’s also been able to watch and coach them throughout their biggest successes. Although the expectations are high, Jason wants Schelb, Noey, and Daniel to simply enjoy their final season together.
“This year, more than anything I just want them to have fun,” Jason said. “I didn’t think that we were going to be able to have a season. So for us to be able to have this opportunity, let’s take it and see how far we can get.”
As well as working with Jason over the years, Schelb, Noey, and Daniel were also coached by Northeast Middle School wrestling coach Tim Kipfmiller.
“It was nice to have a talented group of wrestlers come through,” Kipfmiller said. “It really helped having a core with these guys to help out and act as mini- coaches. You could tell that each one wanted to learn and get better. I knew they would be successful at the next level. I often talk to Coach Donovan about his future wrestlers from Northeast. He was excited to get to coach these three wrestlers with so much potential.”
Michael Donovan is the head coach of the MHS varsity wrestling team, and Schelb, Noey, and Daniel all consider him one of the biggest influences and mentors of their wrestling careers.
“Donovan has pushed me to become a better wrestler, and has made me do things I never thought I could do,” Schelb said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without his hard work and dedication.”
Not only has Donovan helped Schelb, Noey, and Daniel improve as wrestlers, but he also helped them develop a deeper passion for the sport. Having been involved in the sport since he was five, wrestling has always been a major part of Daniel’s identity. However, he really seemed to connect with it more when he entered high school.
“Before high school, I just did it because it was ‘my sport,’” Daniel said. “I didn’t really fall in love with the sport until halfway through the freshman season. My dad kept me in wrestling. Coach Donovan made me fall in love with the sport. That’s something that only he could do.”
Donovan has been the head coach of the team for seven years. He has enjoyed working with Schelb, Noey, and Daniel over the last three years and has admired their hard work and dedication.
“They were one of the first groups of kids I knew before they entered high school,” Donovan said. “I was always kind of looking for that group to come up because I knew they had a lot of experience and have had goals since day one. You don’t always see that with a lot of young kids.”
Donovan has hopes that the three will reach the 100 wins mark, an accomplishment that only six other Chemic wrestlers have accomplished since Donovan began coaching. Schelb, Noey, and Daniel are currently at 88, 64, and 74 wins, respectively. Donovan also believes that on top of being positive assets to the team, all three have a shot at making it far individually this year.
Donovan hopes that all of his wrestlers learn more than just proper hand control and level changes, however. Donovan also stresses how wrestlers learn important life lessons and gain perspectives that others don’t.
“Coach Donovan really makes it known that people that do wrestling in high school and buy into the sport are effective at what they do after high school,” Daniel said. “They know what it’s like to be in the trenches and grinding. They learn a ton of life lessons about discipline and other things that you wouldn’t get from a different sport.”
Donovan is proud of the constant effort Schelb, Noey, and Daniel have poured into the team. He hopes that they not only finish out strong, but they remember everything he’s taught them outside of what to do on the mat.
“They’ve gotten better and have really taken on the mental approach to the sport in their own personal lives and athletic careers,” Donovan said. “I’m just somebody who’s taught them a little about wrestling and hopefully more about life.”
A common goal Donovan and the captains have for the season is to get the underclassman ready to step up and be major contributors to the team. The team can only have fourteen wrestlers on their varsity lineup, but the idea is that everyone plays an important role.
“The idea of the ‘fifteenth man’ is that if you’re not in the starting lineup, you still matter,” Daniel said. “It’s the people that we can move around so that we have a better chance of winning a duel. It’s important for them to be working their hardest even though they’re not on the starting lineup. It’s our job to influence them to be working their hardest even though they’re on JV, because those JV kids are our varsity kids at our next meet because someone gets hurt. Those JV kids are our varsity kids next year.”
Schelb, Noey, and Daniel all find the team atmosphere both vital and one of the more enjoyable parts of the sport. The set-up of the wrestling team differs from a majority of other sports teams at MHS because all of the wrestlers practice together as one team, regardless of their grade in a non-COVID-19 year.
“The cool thing about this sport is that it crosses all grades,” Jason said. “They have every grade on the mat at the same time. This sport is a melting pot of all different groups. They talk to you as a teammate, not as a freshman.”
Not only does this dynamic help every wrestler improve at a faster pace each season, but it also helps develop a strong bond between each wrestler. Schelb, Noey, and Daniel all credit the support and motivation from their teammates to helping them get through difficult matches.
“I feel well supported by my team, and I know we all recognize that everyone wins and loses,” Noey said. “I just try to go as hard as I can, because pain is temporary and I can’t let the team down.”
Schelb, Noey, and Daniel all know their outlook on wrestling would not be the same without the close bond of the group. Having their entire team by their side shouting their name, for them to continue pushing through, tips on how to succeed, and to leave it all on the mat is something they are all grateful to have.
“When you feel like your match is important to the team, it’s very motivating,” Daniel said. “You can’t explain it, it’s like an absolute adrenaline rush when you step out there. When you win a match, everyone is there by your side congratulating you. It’s a good feeling to have the support.”
With a team to unite, a 100 win goal to accomplish, and a fourth district title to secure, Schelb, Noey, and Daniel all acknowledge that they have their work cut out for them. However, the three are ready to take down their final high school season together.
“Being a captain with these guys is something that I’ve always wanted to do since I was a freshman,” Daniel said. “We’ll be the ones that have been here since the start. For us to be the ones that really put in the work and to be known for that, it will be something really cool. For all three of us, we’re able to give the people below us our legacy, and have them continue proving that Chemic Wrestling is still a powerhouse.”