Most wrestlers will hang up their wrestling shoes after the state championships in March, however, many will choose to continue wrestling during the off-season. The majority of wrestling coaches say, “This is the season where champions are made.” An idea Coach David Pritz, head coach of the Hernando Wrestling Club, instills in his wrestlers at every practice.
The Hernando Wrestling Club in Brooksville began in 2012 with only four wrestlers and has since grown to over 60 wrestlers today. When asked what Coach Pritz believes is the reason for the growth, he said one word, “Consistency.” “The wrestling room stays open year-round except for Christmas break,” he shared, “On a slow day we will have 30 kids in the room, and at times there will be over 60 kids on the mat.” He also went on to say, “One of the biggest signs of growth is in the number of kids that competed at the Freestyle/Greco State tournament this past weekend. Last year we had one kid compete compared to 19 this year with the ages ranging from 6-17 years old.”
On the weekend of May 19, 2023, Hernando Wrestling Club brought 19 wrestlers to the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, FL to compete in the Freestyle/Greco State Championships and Spartan National Championships and Duals. Over the course of three days, HWC racked up 73 matches en route to two Spartan National titles, four Individual State titles and 19 medals. Five Hernando wrestlers also qualified to compete at the Cadet/Junior National Championships in Fargo, ND in July. Overall the championship weekend drew 93 teams from around the state and over 2,000 entries.
Coach Pritz attributes the success of the club to the high-level wrestlers currently training in the room. “One kid can elevate a program and we have a group of kids fully committed to the sport that want to be great. They are giving the younger generation something to look up to and strive for.”
Coach David Pritz’s Career Highlights:
– 3 State Champions
– 19 State Placers
– 41 State Qualifiers
– 8 x District IBT Championships
– 4 x GC8 Conference Championships
– 4 Top 10 Team IBT State Finishes
– 5 x State Duals Elite 8
– State Duals Final 4
– 193 Career Dual Meet Wins
– 4 x GC8 Coach of the Year
Weekend Tournament Results:
Grace Leota, 16U 164 lbs, Spartan National Champion Emerson Webber, 14U 97 lbs, Spartan National Champion Grace Leota, 16U 164 lbs, Freestyle State Champion; Emerson Webber, 14U 97 lbs, Freestyle State Champion; Penelope Pritz, 10U 75/80 lbs, Freestyle State Champion; Noah Leota, 14U 125 lbs, Freestyle Placed Second Kenadee Michaels, 10U 75/80 lbs, Freestyle Placed Second; Cullen Helm, 8U 45 lbs, Freestyle Placed Second Jeremiah Chavis, 16U 195 lbs, Freestyle Placed Third Shaw Garrett, 16U 160 lbs, Freestyle Placed Third Daniela Espinal, Junior Girls 127 lbs, Freestyle Placed Third Corbin Helm, 12U 98 lbs, Freestyle Placed Third Cael Helm, 16U 132 lbs, Freestyle Placed Fourth Chris Rosario, 12U 86 lbs, Freestyle Placed Fourth Rayne Cummings, 10U 75/80 lbs, Freestyle Placed Fourth Noah Leota, 14U 125 lbs, Greco State Champion Isaac Leota, 12U 82 lbs, Greco Placed Second, Morgan Johnston, Junior Boys 182 lbs, Greco Placed Fourth, Shaw Garrett, 16U 160 lbs, Folkstyle Placed Second, Jeremiah Chavis, 16U 195 lbs, Folkstyle Placed Third, Morgan Johnston, Cael Helm, Shaw Garrett, Daniela Espinal, and Grace Leota qualify for Junior and 16U National Freestyle/Greco Championships and will travel to Fargo, ND in July.