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No high school athletes deserve more praise than wrestlers

Of all the high school athletes, there is none that beats him or herself up more than the wrestler.

It is the ultimate personal battle of attrition and toughness, from November to March.

Sadly, around the Granite State and beyond, this shows up greatly in boxscores and tournament brackets and the like.

Forfeits are up. Competition is down.

It’s certainly an issue, because for the kids on the mat, day in and day out in high school wrestling rooms and in places like the famed Gate City Wrestling club year-round, dedication to the sport is off the charts.

We have already asked the administrators in this state to do better by these kids and bump down from three divisions to two when the state tournament rolls around. Obviously, that plea fell on deaf ears.

So today, we shall take this in the opposite direction and throw major props at the guys in this region who are keeping the wrestling fire stoked.

Check out the Nashua wrestling rosters these days.

In a time of tumbling numbers and dwindling participation, not just in wrestling but in most all high school sports, look at the programs around the city.

Nashua North has 42 wrestlers in the program for coach Chad Zibolis. South, which admittedly is rebuilding, has 30 for coach Adam Langlois.

Bishop Guertin has 28 in the room with coach Paul Rousseau.

They are not alone.

Merrimack underwent a coaching change to Bryan Dine and still has 30 athletes in the room. Win a state title and reap the benefits. Brian Bumpus now has 28 wrestlers on the roster at Hollis Brookline.

The bottom line is these guys all deserve some major props.

In a match, a wrestler is on his own. His teammates can’t help against some ripped automaton of the mat.

But the successful programs, numbers wise, find a way to focus on the “we” and not the “me.” The name on the singlet matters most.

Titles or not, a great story is brewing this winter around Nashua. These athletes and their coaches have stepped it up.

YES, THEY ARE THE BENGALS

Did anyone catch Tyler Boyd’s commentary after he and Stephon Gilmore went at it Sunday in Cincinnati?

If this was a fight, the referees would have stopped the contest early with the Patriots’ All-Pro cornerback bludgeoning Boyd, a former second-round pick out of Pittsburgh.

Yet, here was Boyd afterward.

“Nah, it was just one-on-one. I won the majority of the matchups … But the two plays he made were great plays. He sat on the curl (route) and played great leverage and the out-route. He was already in perfect leverage. We should have (called) a slant,” he said.

So, it was the coach or the QB, right Tyler?

Not according to Andy Dalton.

“I was trying to give my guys a chance, and their guys ended up making the plays,” the quarterback said.

And the coach, Zach Taylor, seemed to concur.

“We got bullied… we did. Guys could go compete, knock the ball down, go get a one-on-one,” said the first-year coach. “So their guys went and competed.”