‘Upper weights’ key to FHS wrestling success

Bobby Hampshire recently began his fourth season as Farragut High School’s wrestling head coach, but he’s on a continuing quest of rebuilding the once-proud Admirals program.

When he came to Farragut four years ago, he basically restarted the program from scratch.

“We’re still building our program and I expect that we’ll have a decent season,” Hampshire said. “But if I can fill some of my spots in the upper weights, we can have an outstanding year.

“I think we can compete at the regional level, but we have a young team.”

The Admirals, however, may struggle in dual meets due to vacancies in the heavier weight classes. “I lost a lot of my wrestlers at the upper weights last year,” Hampshire said. “A lot of that was because kids came out late (in high school) and nobody knew that the wrestling program was around here.”

Despite those issues, Farragut has some experience in the lower weight classes.

Senior Tyler McKeefery returns. He’s a three-time Region 2 Large Schools Division champion. He won the region crown in the 103-pound weight division as a freshman before winning in the 112-pound class during the last two seasons. He opened the season in the 126-class, but will drop to 120 by the end of the season.

Region runner-up Zach Garabrandt, a sophomore, opened the season in the 132-pound class. But Hampshire said he expects Garabrandt to drop down to 126 by the time postseason action begins.

Senior Nicholas Cole also returns. He had a promising beginning last season before an injury ended his campaign. Hampshire said Cole could find himself at 132, 138 or 145.

Sophomore Cole Mach is a newcomer this season. The 138-pounder didn’t compete in high school until this week. But he is a veteran AAU athlete, who has previous success on the mat.

(Read about a “full” FHS girls wrestling team next week)