The numbers game is still one of the battles Scot Raymond is fighting in building the Bowdon High School wrestling program back up as an area and state contender.
The Red Devils have been busy early in the 2017-18 season, and especially over the holiday break leading up to Area 3-A Duals at Trion on Jan. 6.
Competing in tournaments at Landmark Christian, Heard County and Callaway over the past week and with the Gary Silva Tournament on tap at LaGrange on Dec. 29-30, Raymond is building toward bigger and better things for the Red Devil wrestling program this winter.
"We'd like to make it to state. We've got state in a (few) weeks, but we've got a long way to go to get there," Raymond said. "Obviously, Mount Zion is in our area and Trion is really strong."
Bowdon is led by the quartet of senior Ty Robinson and juniors Ben Rainwater, Wesley Scales and Owen McCord, who have helped fill the void by departed seniors Jacob Carroll, Dylan Raymond and Jason Meherg.
Carroll and Raymond were the lone state qualifiers for Bowdon last year, with Raymond placing sixth at 182 pounds.
But with a new year comes new leadership and coach Raymond has been pleased with the production from this group.
"Losing (the seniors) hurt, but Rainwater has stepped up a lot. His work ethic is second-to-none," Raymond said. "He's just a good, hard worker. McCord has also really stepped up and Robinson and Scales bring a lot of energy to our practices, which has been nice."
With just under 20 grapplers in the room again this year, Raymond stressed that one of the biggest obstacles remains filling all the weight classes and it's something he's hopeful of shoring up this winter and beyond.
"If we can get to the point where we can fill a full lineup when everybody is out, we'll have a shot. We can't give up any spots," Raymond said. "We've just got to keep getting more kids out there. With only 200 boys in the whole school, it can be tough to fill all the spots. But we're working hard to get there. Our middle school program is growing and we're getting there."