Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Watch out for the speedbumps

Losing focus is a big problem in sports. Look at the Ohio State football team.

When the matchup was first announced, nobody had the Buckeyes losing to Florida in the BCS national championship game. Then the Gators actually won 41-14 Monday.

That's what happens when everyone tells you you're the greatest uninterrupted for 50 days.

And the Atascadero High wrestling team has to be feeling like it's the best right now. The Greyhounds have soundly beaten Nipomo and Righetti, the two PAC 7 teams that have the lineups to challenge their own.

Atascadero is even riding the high of taking its own New Year's Revolution tournament, dethroning three-time defending champ Chaparral (Parker, Colo.) in the process.

"I think we've beaten the most difficult teams and we've pretty much secured the league title," Greyhounds 160-pounder Blake Willard said after Atascadero took apart the Titans 57-9 on Wednesday. "We just have to keep our heads straight."

Willard's right about it all, especially about staying motivated.

They're the front-runners, and the Greyhounds can't lose focus now. They feel like they've already won, but there are still three PAC 7 opponents looming — Pioneer Valley, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. Then comes the league finals.

Even though they seem like gimmes, wrestling is the touchiest sport. All it takes is a lazy day or two to risk failing to make weight.

"Who've we got this week? The Tigers? Oh, a little dressing on the salad this time won't matter."

BAM! — Next thing you know, the scales are tipping and you're sitting out. Some JV guy steps in, and who knows what's going to happen.

Atascadero looks to have a smooth road ahead, but sometimes the speed bumps that do the most damage to your undercarriage are the ones that don't get painted with the yellow lines.

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