Perfecting your game: Green Devils' Saylor draws top seed at LHSAA state wrestling meet
PLAQUEMINE - Plaquemine Senior High School’s Sterling Saylor enters the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Meet this weekend in Kenner as a top seed in the Division II 134-pound weight class.
Saylor, a senior, placed fourth in the meet last year at the Pontchartrain Center and currently has an 11-5 record this year placing third at the Baton Rouge City Championship earlier in the month.
“It is all about sacrifice,” Saylor said. “You must have a game plan before every tournament and every match. You have to know what you do, how to do it and go out there and make it your match.”
Saylor is joined by seventh graders Skyler Dozier and Rodney Franks. They are coached by Matthew Zito and Lance Dozier in Plaquemine’s eighth year of fielding a wrestling program.
“It is definitely on the rise and I think it helps with Sterling having success,” Zito said. “He does it year-round non-stop. As soon as the season is over with, he starts freestyling Greco. He is constantly going and the ultimate gym rat.”
Zito said Saylor has learned from late mistakes in matches that have cost him in the past.
“I think that has been his fuel all season long,” Zito said. “He knows that anytime he takes a break, he can lose the match like that so his training and work ethic has been better. He is trying to perfect his game so that doesn’t happen at state.”
Saylor began wrestling at the age of five and this marks his 13th year participating in the sport.
“My dad wanted me to try it and turns out I liked it,” Saylor said. “I am doing it to win. That is the whole point of wrestling. I know I can do a lot more. I have been working my whole life for this moment and this is my year. I have to win so there won’t be any regrets.”
Saylor says the key is commitment, dedication, intensity, coaching and staying composed on the mat. He lists high impact moves that include tilts and cradles, both far and near side, as his best.
Zito also said it is helpful sparing with state wrestling powerhouse Brusly in practice to perfect technique.
“There is no better place to train,” Zito said.
Saylor encourages more students to participate in Plaquemine’s wrestling program.
“You don’t have to be good to be a wrestler,” Saylor said. “Just come out there and show your dedication but you have to make sacrifices in order to be a wrestler.”