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Freeport Running Out Of Wrestlers

Several wrestlers at Freeport have dropped out of the program.
FREEPORT-Last Fall Rockford Jefferson's football team had to forfeit its final three games when several players quit the team. Now Freeport is running into a similar situation in wrestling.

The Pretzels had only six varsity wrestlers for their match Tuesday evening against Rochelle. They began the season with 17 wrestlers. But wrestlers have been quitting left and right.

"They say it's too hard. Too much work. They don't want to lose the weight. Just a bunch of different excuses," says Freeport coach Anthony Dedmond to Eyewitness News.

Dedmond has been Freeport's wrestling coach for ten years. In 1992 as a Freeport wrestler himself he finished second in the State. He says as little as five years ago Freeport's wrestling room was packed with more than 60 athletes.

"The work ethic has dropped," says Dedmond. Too much video games, I-pod and I-pads. Kids don't feel they have to work as hard as they used to."

Of the six wrestlers still on the team, they're primarily involved because they grew up around the sport.

"I got into it because my brother started wrestling, and I just followed him," says wrestler Austin Anderson.

When Anderson was asked why so many wrestlers are quitting the team he said, "It's all just them saying they don't want to work hard, or saying they're hurt when they're probably not. Just any excuse you can think of."

Dedmond says he is proud of the wrestlers who have stuck with the sport. And he says there are 35 wrestlers at the middle school level. But the challenge will be keeping them involved in the sport for the long haul.
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