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Taylor repeats as regional champion

March 6, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

North Fort Myers High School wrestler Adolphus Taylor didn't get his winter season started until his fall season was finished, which was a lot later than anticipated.

Taylor was busy playing football, which didn't stop until the day after Thanksgiving, forcing him to miss the start of wrestling season.

He then missed more time as he visited colleges in hope of a football scholarship. He came into a key tournament with just 16 matches under his belt.

Article Photos

North Fort Myers wrestler Adolphus Taylor competes in a match Friday at the Region 2A-3 wrestling tournament at Charlotte High School. Taylor won his second consecutive regional championship.

CHUCK BALLARO

Despite the challenges, the senior was able to put it together at the Region 2A-3 wrestling tournament at Charlotte High School this past weekend, winning four straight matches to repeat as the 285-pound weight class champion.

Taylor, wasn't particularly sharp in his first two matches on Friday, but still won without allowing a single point, then staked a claim to a state berth with a victory over Madison Davila of East Lake 3-1 on Saturday morning.

In the finals against Riverdale's T.J. Barfield, he once again was not taken down, allowing just a couple escapes and getting a late takedown to secure a 5-2 win.

Taylor was drenched in sweat, having left it all on the mat.

"This weekend it was about seeing what they would do and act on it. I couldn't do it without my coaches, who pushed me to do this in the first place and to continue it," said Taylor, who got into the sport reluctantly as a way to stay in shape for football.

Coach Frank Drake said he made up for his late start with hard work and showing the younger members of the team how to prepare for meets.

"He works hard every day he comes to practice. Barfield is a great wrestler with great technique. Adolphus gives him everything a Red Knight should give to win a match," Drake said. "He's a powerful young man and it will be a battle at the state tournament."

Taylor has become the commander-in-chief of a very young squad that has started to emphasize quality over quantity, and those kids watch and listen.

"They all respect him and he's ready to work when he gets there. The kids see he's 280 pounds and he's working and they say they can do the same thing," Drake said. "He's a great inspiration.

Taylor was one of only two Red Knights to reach regionals this season. Gage Foster qualified in the 126-pound weight class and didn't get out of Friday with two losses.

Foster said the expectations were higher with a new coach and a new way of doing things.

"Coach Drake is great and he taught me a lot the last two years. This year the goal was regionals. Next year, the goal is states," Foster said. "Before I didn't learn much and wasn't as motivated. Coach Drake wants you to win and always teaches me new things."

Drake has proven to be a huge boom for the program, as he expects people in the program to devote every day to it. Many kids came to the team, but many also quit, unwilling to put in the time necessary to win.

"This isn't club wrestling, you have to put in five days a week. If kids don't want to wrestle, they don't want to wrestle and you play the hand you have," Drake said. "The kids who stayed have been great."

 
 

 

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