“You just have to get it in your kids' minds that we’re going to compete, Mitchell said. “We’re going to show up, we’re going to be prepared, we’re going to go hard, we’re going to put our nose to the grind. We’re going to do what we do and if that’s good enough, we’re going to win.”
Mitchell, who has chosen eight seniors to compete in the sectional tournament, said the leadership of the upperclassmen was essential to the program's rise.
“We have a ton of freshmen and new kids and it was good to have seniors that are not the most heralded guys but at the same time they work hard," Mitchell said. "They always work like champions. They work through injury, they work through pain and they set the proper examples."
Quincy Upper's eight seniors are brothers Corey Crowley (230 pounds) and Jake Crowley (145), Muhammid Muhammid (180), Adrian Shelton (170), Ray Zalentin (113), Joseph Gonzalez (138), Nelson Kedey (220), and Josiah Cassiani (132).
Mitchell said that while he expects all of his wrestlers to do well, he would like to see veterans Kedey and the Crowleys win their classes. Mitchell said they exemplify his squad's unity and teamwork.
“They really like one another, they get along, they work together and they support one another, which I think is really important,” Mitchell said. “Wrestling’s a tough sport. You got to have a friend that knows how to be hungry with you.”
Mitchell has seen many of his newcomers improve throughout the season, and two will be going to the sectional tournament. lSophomore Darius Hale (195 pounds) has earned one spot. Mitchell said the next two days of practice will determine who gets the last spot.
No matter what happens in Saturday’s sectionals, Mitchell is confident that the future of wrestling within the city is bright.
“There’s a youth program in Boston being run by Jose Valenzuela and we’ve been on some things and we have plans for next year to do some things together and things look really good for the city in terms of wrestling,” Mitchell said.
The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Wayland High School.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
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