Why “Team” and “Family” are Synonymous

How growth as a team bolsters individual success in athletics.


Ashley Courtney

A scene from a typical wrestling team practice.

Woodford County High School’s wrestling team is one of the most esteemed wrestling programs in the state. With the most state titles out of every other wrestling team in Kentucky, it is an understatement to say Woodford County knows wrestling. From an extraneous perspective, wrestling may seem like a one-on-one sport, in which the wrestler and their opponent go head-to-head for six minutes. While this isn’t necessarily incorrect, classifying wrestling as a strictly individual activity isn’t the reality of the sport.

What many people don’t see is the overall team bond that forms during the season. Each new season brings new wrestlers and new teammates, practice partners, and friends. Despite its individualistic nature, wrestling is founded upon the strength and bond of the team, bringing success for the wrestlers and overall team alike.

I spoke with a few of the wrestlers on the team and asked them all the same question:

“How does wrestling encourage athletes to grow as a team?”

Kaylen Escaloni (11). Photo by Ashley Courtney.

   Kaylen Escaloni (11)

“Wrestling, while an individual sport, is one of the greatest team bonding experiences an athlete can participate in. The camaraderie built from the brutal practices and tournament environments can be topped by no other, and this is from someone who also participates in typical team sports. We grow together as a family, through the good and bad, and it’s a type of unity everyone would benefit from experiencing.”



Gavin Andreoni (11). Photo by Ashley Courtney.

Gavin Andreoni (11)

“We practice and wrestle together, we’re not only a team but a family. The stronger the wrestler, the stronger the team, so we try to grow and get better together.”






Tony Ornelas (12). Photo by Ashley Courtney.

Tony Ornelas (12)

“It builds strong bonds because everyone does the same thing.”





Conner Dutton (11). Photo by Ashley Courtney.


Conner Dutton (11)

“Wrestling is a sport that requires teammates to be as close as a family. Families may fight from time to time but at the end of the day, they have each other’s backs no matter what.”





Coach Baney. Photo by Ashley Courtney.

Coach Baney

“Wrestling helps individuals perform as a team for multiple reasons. One being that every athlete that wrestles does the same thing. Like in football–offense, defense, and kids on the sidelines waiting to be rotated in. Wrestling is not like that. In every other sport, people get breaks. In wrestling, there are no breaks for anyone. You’re there, and a first-year kid is doing the same thing as a four-time state champ. Everyone is responsible for their own effort, and if they’re slacking, that means they’re hurting their teammates’ performance because they’re not giving their all.”