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Chilton Co. wrestling continues its growth

One Chilton County wrestler qualified for the state meet in the 2007-08 season, the program’s first.

That number doubled last year as CCHS had two wrestlers qualify. So, can four qualify this year?

“If we don’t get that, I’d be disappointed,” said Kess Cottingham, the program’s second-year coach.

The goal is realistic because last year’s team—including state qualifiers Colby Bernier and Caleb Mims—are back, stronger and more experienced, and many newcomers have been added.

Between 15 and 18 wrestlers competed regularly last year, and Cottingham expects anywhere from 25 to 28 this season.

Ten of those on the roster are returnees from last season.

If there is no attrition, Cottingham said the team should be able to compete in every weight class, a luxury he hasn’t had at CCHS or in his three years as Chelsea’s coach.

Last season, the Tigers gave up from 18-24 points every meet because of having to forfeit weight classes.

Mims said it’s encouraging to know the team probably won’t have to give up points this year.

The success Bernier and Mims enjoyed could have convinced fellow students they could compete in the sport, but Mims had another explanation for the increased interest.

“A lot of people saw how we were getting in shape and just how much fun it is, really,” Mims said.