With the acquisition of two premium wrestlers from Indian Land, the Nation Ford High wrestling program has one goal in mind this year and that is making the playoffs again.
After reaching the second round of the postseason last year, head coach Leon Boulware feels like he has all the pieces in place this year for the team to advance even further.
Nation Ford picked up two key components in wrestlers Dalen Byerley, a defending state champion and All-American national wrestler, and Devin Curtsinger, both whom transferred from Indian Land High.
“Our lineup is stronger than it was from last year,” Boulware said. “We are stronger up top. We want to be that team that goes deep in the playoffs. This group has put in a lot of work in the off season. I feel like we have made up a lot of distance.”
Nation Ford is ranked 19th in the state to start the season, which Boulware sees as an insult considering the Falcons beat several teams ranked ahead of them last year.
“We will use it as motivation,” he said.
Boulware said having Byerley and Curtsinger on this year’s squad has picked up the intensity to Nation Ford’s training.
“The (wrestling) room is a lot more intense with the presence of these guys,” he said. “These guys make a difference.”
According to Boulware, Byerley brings a 96-4 record over two years at Indian Land to Nation Ford and Curtsinger brings a 31-7 record after one year at Indian Land.
Nation Ford will also have to contend with a strong Region 3-4A schedule by facing second-ranked Rock Hill at one point, as well as fifth-ranked Fort Mill.
The Falcons open the season this weekend with an individual tournament as part of the RedHawk Invitational at Monroe High School.
Their regular season begins next week as they travel to South Pointe in a three-way match with Lexington and South Pointe.
Nation Ford will have its first home match Dec. 10 against Chester and Weddington. The team will also be participating in four tournaments in December and two tournaments in January.