Coles County Sports chatted with Mattoon High School wrestling coach Brett Porter, who last season was inducted in to the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame – joining his father Tom and his brother Rob. Brett Porter, entering his 11th year as the Green Wave coach, addressed his expectations for a team that sent five wrestlers to state last season.
Coles County Sports: How many wrestlers are out for the upcoming year?
Porter: We currently have 20 student-athletes participating in wrestling
CCS: Who are your team leaders?
Porter: We have a host of team leaders in the wrestling room. They include seniors Hayden Stanley and Gavin Jones. Coby Haney is a leader by example during practice.
CCS: What are your expectations for the season?
Porter: I expect to be in the race to win the Apollo Conference as a team. With five returning state qualifiers, we should be very competitive in tournaments. We have an even mix of upper- and lowerclassmen who will spend time at the varsity level.
CCS: Tell us about senior Hayden Stanley.
Porter: Hayden comes from a great Mattoon wrestling family. He is looking to become the first Mattoon wrestler to qualify for state in each year of high school. The most difficult obstacle for Hayden is the amount of size-height increase he has had over his career. To start as a freshman at 106 and finish as a senior at 152/160 is a huge change. It is almost like having to learn an entire different way to compete. With the experience he has in wrestling, and his determination, I look for Hayden to place again at State, and stand higher up on the podium.
CCS: How do you prepare for your early season schedule?
Porter: Our practices focus on technique and conditioning. Our drills begin as team-driven, and then we individualize as the season progresses.
CCS: Who are the teams to beat in the Apollo, thus year?
Porter: Mt. Zion holds the crown as returning champions. Mahomet-Seymour seems to always be competitive. Lincoln should have a veteran team this season as well.
CCS: Why only two home meets this year?
Porter: Our conference rotates multidual events. This year does not provide for our home meets.
CCS: Mattoon is hosting regionals. Talk about the importance of hosting?
Porter: Mattoon is a great community for wrestling. Those involved from the youth wrestling club to middle school to high school are always willing to help in our events. This allows us to host important things like the IHSA Regionals. Our kids love to wrestle in our gym in front of the home crowd.
CCS: If all works out, how many Green Wave wrestlers can advance to state?
Porter: Last year, we were able to send five wrestlers to State, and they are all back this year. We look to continue to improve as both individuals and a team. I’d love to see six advance to state this year.
CCS: Do you set season goals?
Porter: We help individuals reach their goals, and, in doing this, the team typically takes care of itself. As a coach, I just want each student-athlete to have a fun experience, develop lasting friendships, and learn the importance of hard work.
Freshmen: Logan Blackburn, Stewart Druin, AJ Easton, Blaze Holly, Geoffrey McGahey, Lathan McGuire, Leo Meyer, Kyus Root
Sophomores: Kiefer Duncan, Brady Foster, Pierce Leeman, Mick Porter
Juniors: Nate Eldridge, Coby Haney, Jeremiah Jones, Rick Wright
Seniors: Gavin Jones, Danny Reardon, Tobias Sanders, Hayden Stanley