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Changes to high school wrestling season

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TOWN OF CHENANGO (WBNG) -- High school wrestling is one high-risk sport that was recently given approval to begin in the Southern Tier.

Chenango Forks is preparing for matches to begin next week.

"We're looking at this as a blessing," said coach Rick Gumble. "We've been through a lot in the last 12 months."

Like other sports, wrestlers will be required to wear masks during practices and competition.

"They have to learn how to breathe with them," said Gumble. "They're training with them. We want to be safe."

Many wrestlers said it's an adjustment they're willing to make to have a season.

"Probably not ideal for us but you have to work with what you can during these times," said senior Cooper Rice. "It's an opportunity so you got to take it."

Senior Lucas Scott said wearing a mask will help prepare him for the fall sports season, which begins next month.

"I'm glad wrestling is first because football is going to be a change with the masks," said Scott. "Wrestling gets you in great shape."

This year, there will be no dual meets. Instead, wrestlers will be paired up and isolated in different areas of the gym.

"We as coaches don't care about the wins and loses," said Gumble. "We'll have the matches paired up. Once they're done with the matches they leave. That way we can maximize how many times the kids can wrestle and do it in a short amount of time."

Despite the changes, Tyler Ferrera said his goals haven't changed.

"Get better," he said. "Work on my stuff. Just perfect it. If I perfect it, I shouldn't lose."

Gumble said he's proud of the way his seniors are stepping it up with the underclassmen this season.

"Both Lucas (Scott), Logan (Gumble) and Cooper (Rice), they're working out with an underclassman as their designated partner," said Gumble. "They're getting that kid ready for next year. That's a bigger life lesson than winning and losing."

Senior Logan Gumble said it's a role he's embracing.

"I really enjoy being around these guys a lot," he said. "I'm really happy to be back in the room. I enjoy leading these guys. Everyone in this room has the same goal."

The season begins next Tuesday as Chenango Forks hosts Maine-Endwell and Vestal at 5:30 p.m.

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Nicole Menner

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