Davis takes on wrestling team

Esther Noe
The Hill City High School wrestling team is gearing up for another season. This year, Tanner Davis is taking charge of the program as the head coach. 
Davis grew up in Wyoming and moved to the Hills his sophomore year of high school. He did wrestling at Hill City High School until graduation. 
After graduating Davis said, “I saw there was no real coaching left, and I just couldn’t sit there and think, ‘Oh, Hill City’s going to lose the program.’” 
The first year he served as the assistant coach. Then, since he did not have as much to do this winter, he decided to step into the role of head coach at the beginning of the school year to keep the program running while he worked on college. 
“It was a scary decision, but I’m super glad I made it,” said Davis. “Coaching has been really fun.”
Davis said the hard part about being so young is many of the athletes were in school with him. Now he has to transition from a friend to a coach and keep the pace up in the room. Seeing how the sport evolves by transitioning from an athlete to a coach was an eye-opener as well. 
However, Davis said it was nice he had so many coaches growing up because he has lots of techniques to pull from. He is also joined by his assistant coach, Cartsen McNeil.
This year three athletes are returning including junior Tiara Faehnrich, sophomore Caleb Garcia and sophomore Daisy Munoz. Davis said they bring a lot of positivity to the team. 
“They’re very eager to build the program, and every day they just always show up ready to work. They’re always so helpful to all the other kids, and I can see them going really far,” said Davis. 
Joining these three are senior Brittney Hanson, junior Trystyn Jangula, freshman Evelyn Simental, sophomore Elizabeth Sutton, freshman Lochlan Willis and freshman Brody Alexander. 
“I’ve never seen a group so tight-knit, which is interesting,” said Davis. 
He added they are eager to challenge and push each other. None of them break each other down but rather build each other up. Some athletes even stay after practice to help teammates catch up. 
“To see them do that in what is supposed to be an individual sport and to see them work so much as a team is really cool,” said Davis. 
When it comes to potential weaknesses, Davis said, “All the new kids are very far behind, and I could see that hindering them a little bit.”
Because they are young, the athletes are lacking some self-confidence. To this, Davis said, “Everyone really needs a good match or two to believe in themselves.” 
The low numbers also make it hard to help the boys continue learning when there is a weight gap. 
Nevertheless, Davis said, “Just seeing how quick they’re figuring things out and learning, I really expect them to and hope that they push themselves and that they learn the grit mentality. I think they could have a really successful season.” 
Ideally, he would like to see the freshman try to get into the placing rounds or get on the podium at the Black Hills Conference. From there, he expects to be able to take a group to state. 
In the meantime, the first tournament will serve as a gauge for where the team is at. The Bill Young Custer Invitational Tournament is Friday, Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. in the Custer Armory. 
“I’m excited. Ready to see them go far,” said Davis.

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