By Rob Tetro
James Bailey and Travis Kemp recently wrestled their final matches in Fulton red and green.
As they move on to the next phases of their lives, they do so while having left their marks on the Fulton Wrestling Program.
Both athletes were four-year wrestlers for the Red Raiders. Varsity wrestling coach Chris Stalker said Bailey and Kemp were great leaders who taught their teammates the importance of hard work, dedication and determination.
As these athletes move toward life beyond high school, Stalker hopes they do so while having learned that hard work pays off. He also hopes Kemp and Bailey move on with the ability to understand what it means to be a part of a successful team — that success isn’t just a part of individual efforts, but rather it’s understanding just how much a team can accomplish when they work together.
While the Red Raiders begin preparing for the 2014-15 season, they do so having been able to get many younger wrestlers some experience at the varsity level this past season.
However, Stalker feels James Bailey’s example could be felt for years to come.
As a junior, Bailey didn’t have as much as success as he hoped he would. Despite the disappointment, Bailey worked hard over the offseason and continued to display his impressive work ethic throughout the season.
The end result was a very successful season, including solid performances in Sectional and State meets.
Stalker said his younger wrestlers know what it takes to succeed at a high level because Bailey led by example and had the success to show for it.
Looking ahead to next season, Stalker is excited about some of the younger athletes making their way up the ranks of the Fulton Wrestling Program.
He said this past season, his team had ninth-grader Travis Race qualify for the State Meet and 11th-grader Mitch Woodworth had a solid performance at the State meet.
Stalker expects these two athletes to serve as key leadership figures next season. He looks forward to seeing these two lead by example like Bailey and Kemp did with the hopes that they too, will succeed while encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.