Superb athletes dominate in state competition.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a very different year for high school sports. From the social distancing to the quarantines, off season workouts and scheduling for meets, games, and matches were very difficult. This didn’t slow some of our student athletes from making a big impact in state competition.

Wrestler Justin Fritz (12) made the impossible seem easy by winning his fourth career wrestling state championship.

Since there was very seldom off season team workouts, athletes had to do a lot of work on their own. Swimmer Brady Jones (10) said, “I practiced everyday, sometimes twice a day, making my endurance stronger to where I can go a farther distance.” Cross Country runner Katie Benson (12) said, “I did interval training and speed workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I ran longer distances to prevent lactic acid buildup.” Wrestler Tristan Hass (9) said, “We went over moves and techniques to help us for the matches.”

This year the state swimming matches were held at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center where Virginia Tech swims during their season. The state cross country match was held at Green Hill Park in Salem, Virginia. The state wrestling matches were held at the Salem Civic Center. Going to state is much different than the regular season. The environment is way different and the stakes are way higher. Brady Jones said, “It is very different. State is 10 times bigger and there are a lot more teams there and the competition is a lot harder.” Katie Benson said, “The environment at state was very different than it has been in years past because of COVID-19 and the number of competitors. A lot of runners did not compete this year because of the virus.” Tristan Hass said, “It’s different from what I’m used to because I haven’t been to a state competition before.” 

Placing in state is a very amazing accomplishment for any student playing any sport. Part of how impressive it is comes from how difficult it is to place in state for any sport. Tristan Hass said, “It’s pretty hard, because you have to win a lot of your matches prior to going to districts and then you have to place top two at districts to go to state.” Brady Jones said, “ It is very difficult to go to state because there are a lot of people and you have to be very fast and have lots of endurance and confidence.” Katie Benson said, “Considering only the top three individuals qualify for state, it takes serious dedication, diet, and training to qualify and compete on the state level.” 

Making an impact in state athletic and academic competitions is something that GHS has been very successful at and hopefully will keep being successful in in years to come.