This wrestling season has seen its own set of unique challenges, but none of these have hindered three Bank County wrestling team members from going undefeated this season. Evan Clark, Josh Stapleton and Jacob Voyles are setting records this 2020-2021 season.
Evan Clark, a Banks County senior, states that he wanted to start the season this year and end the season differently than the last.
"I remember how we ended last year, and I never want to feel that way again," he said.
Clark referred to last year's season when the Leopards finished short of the region and state title because of COVID shutting things down. Clark wants his team to go to state and he takes his leadership role seriously and makes sure that everyone on his team follows COVID protocol.
"I want my team to be at state this year, and if one teammate gets it (referring to the virus), we all quarantined," he said.
Clark is also dual-enrolled in Lanier Tech for his senior year.
Clark's teammates, Stapleton and Voyles, also share in that role as they speak of the challenges they face personally and be part of the team.
"Our team works really hard at practice, and we have an excellent chance of making it to state," said Voyles, who has his site on UGA when he graduates. "I am really close to my grandparents, and COVID is always on the back of my mind."
Stapleton, who is also a senior and has several college offers, including one from UNC Pembroke, states he doesn't want the season to be canceled like last year. Stapleton is one of five siblings.
"I am always thinking that the virus could affect them," he said.
Clark, Voyles and Stapleton speak about their team's work ethic at practice and at meets. They stress everyone is working toward reaching the goal of the state title.
"We have mental days, where our coaches push us mentally and physically; it's about developing mental toughness and endurance," said all three.
The trio feels that having coaches who have been in their shoes before makes the team want it so badly. Among the coaches, they have a total of 11 state championships.
The wrestlers beat North Springs High School 66-12 and Lumpkin County 48-36 during the holiday break. Winners included Jacob Voyles 2-0, Angel Cruz 2-0, Elijah Mullins 2-0, Jaxon Mitchell 1-1, Evan Clark 2-0, Zak McClellon 1-1, Davis Mitchell 1-1, Roman Haynes 2-0, Mason Dodd 1-1, Josh Stapleton 2-0 and Eli Ward 2-0.
The wrestlers will face Athens Christian on January 12 at home.