Season 5, Column 51: Summaries, Sidetrips, and Spring Readings

A trio of talented coaches share some post season thoughts, a South Bexar county sweet spot, and a pair of titles on two vastly different stories in the American dream.

VMIs Jim Gibson, John Clark of Sacred Heart, and Ned Shuck of Bellarmine share their thoughts post season.

Where was the progress most noticeable for your squad this year?

Gibson, VMI: “The ability of a group of our young starters to be able to turn around some losses they had early in the year was impressive to me. By the post season a few of them were able to close the gap or pick up a win over opponents that defeated them in November or December.”

Clark, Sacred Heart: “Even though we didn’t have the best dual meet record this year, we challenged ourselves with a very tough schedule and even wrestled Penn State in a dual. We also went to (the Cliff Keen Las Vegas), Keystone Classic and the Journeymen Classic to name a few tough tournaments.”

Shuck, Bellarmine: “One thing I’m really proud of this team for is their effort and fight. The most noticeable progress for our squad was in their positional knowledge and their ability to execute many of the things we spent time and effort on. It didn’t always lead to points and wins but it was cool to see them increase their wrestling performance.”

What’s been the impact of your departing wrestlers and what is their legacy?

Clark: “Our departing wrestlers are a product of my first recruiting class. They have done a great job and will be missed. I appreciate their leadership and it has been great to see them develop in the last couple of years to close out their careers.”

Shuck: “We had a good group of seniors that left a legacy of resilience. Those guys saw the transition from N.A.I.A. to Division II to Division I and chose to stay at Bellarmine. (They stayed) because of the relationships they built here with the team and (the Bellarmine family) on campus and the academic (qualities) that Bellarmine provided for their careers. Super proud of all my seniors and their growth this year and over their time at Bellarmine. The guys that stuck it out with me have been huge encouragers for our younger guys and they will be our biggest fans and supporters in the future.”

Gibson: “With only two graduating seniors and neither of them being in our starting lineup their impact took place in helping our younger guys adjust to the strict military lifestyle here at VMI.”

Are you active in the Portal as well as recruiting high school students and can you fire up the fans with a name or weight class to be newly excited about?

Shuck: “I’m not super active in the Portal given the transition period but will look for the right fits moving forward for sure. I’m not going to share names but we are excited about the guys that are coming in our first recruiting class. We have a good mix across the weight classes and currently have about 10 commits.”

Gibson: “With the transfer policies here at VMI we are not as active in the Portal as we are on the high school recruiting scene. We have some standouts coming in at the light and middle weights. One (is a) two time placer in the Pennsylvania big school division, and another from Virginia who placed at the Southeast Open (College) as a high school senior.”

Clark: “The transfer Portal is a great place to find some great talent. Each year we bring in multiple transfers and they’re always a great addition to our team. They know what to expect from college and bring a level of experience that a recruit out of high school doesn’t have yet.”

THANK YOU, gentlemen, and continued success all round.

Down by a lazy river

Off Texas State Highway 16 (Bandera Road through San Antonio) in the far South-Central reaches of Bexar County is a tiny gem called The Medina River Natural Area. A small 500 acre (this IS TX, remember) well maintained riverine oasis in the general semi-dryness of South TX, The MRNA has an unassuming entrance. Down this slender paved road, though, you’ll find a striking variety of trees, plants and wildlife all nurtured by the meandering curves of the 120 mile long Medina River. Modest in width and depth the Medina finds her source in the plateaus of the TX Hill Country and empties into the San Antonio river. Both show near drainage ditch status at times but are to be respected for the sudden changes in their ebb and flow and absolutely avoided during the infamous flash flood producing S. Central TX downpours. There’s an abundance of foot and bike trails ranging from wheelchair accessible to Level 4 dirt bike challenging. A beautiful and spacious pavilion is available for rental. A group camping area is also available and leashed pets are welcome with the understanding that this IS a WILD S TX area. Like you and your pets, the abundant shade and water draws and will harbor snakes, and wild hogs a bit more serious than the John Travolta variety may be your neighbor for a dawn or dusk or overnight stay. That said the park is well worth a day or overnight visit. A half hours drive from South San Antonio, the Medina River Natural Area, 15890 TX-16, should be added to your S.TX. to do list.

Two titles well worth your time

The brilliance of Dr. Isabel Wilkerson burns through The Warmth of Other Suns, her epic Pulitzer Prize winning narrative history of the great African American migration from the early 1900s through the 1960s. Dr. Wilkerson, the first Female African American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, has enjoyed a stellar multi-decade career at the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the NY Times where she became “The Gray Ladys” (1) Chicago Bureau Chief. A Howard graduate, she has taught at Emory, Princeton, Northwestern and Boston University and her writing superiority is near impossible to turn away from once engaged with. In The Warmth of Other Suns Dr. Wilkerson unfolds truths, destroys false narratives, and fully displays every aspect of humanity AND inhumanity in a six decade long historic narrative wrapped in the lives of three main groups of protagonists. Though they are all as different as night to day the enormous similarities in their experiences provides the power of this book. The Scribe is a decade late in discovering the excellence of The Warmth of Other Suns. Don’t you be.

If you have ever stood on the shores of Lake Superior, entered her waters, or chanced her might odds are good you’re aware of her most famous modern story. Whatever the timeframe in your life the date of November 10, 1975 holds, the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitgerald is likely to touch some cord of awareness and or remembrance. “Mighty Fitz” is a slender and well researched recounting of this most famous of modern American ship disasters. Shipwreck researcher and biographer Michael Schumaker examines the tragedy from every possible angle, even including direct and indirect information from surviving family members burned by 30 years (as of the books printing) of exploitation of their doomed family members fate. Schumaker shies away from NO aspect of the event and his telling of the Fitzgeralds birth, life and death on the mighty inland sea gives full view of a culture very much different than most of America. Vastly more hazardous, more compelling and more free. If you know little of the lives and times of the ships of Americas great inland waters and the men who share their fate Mighty Fitz will enlighten you as only a truthful tale told well can.

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras

(1) The original nickname of the Times

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