Shelbyville native Haston guides Rockets
Forrest High School remains as the only school in Marshall County with a wrestling program and this season they begin again with a new coach in David Haston. Haston, a Shelbyville native returned from Lakey, Texas with his wife to Tennessee this year and as he put it, "It was a Godsend to return to the area with my wife to be with my family."
"I came back and an English position was open at Forrest School, I applied for it and got it. Then when I arrived at Forrest the Athletic Director, Scott Delk told me there was a coaching job open with the wrestling program and I took that. It just kind of fell into my lap", he said.
Haston, who does not have any wrestling experience at the scholastic level graduated from Thrall High School in Texas and attended the University of Mary Hardin at Baylor College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2005.
He is one test short of being a Certified Personal Trainer. Haston also trained in the mixed martial arts which includes Greco Roman Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Russian Sombo, and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
Haston credits current Forrest football coach Kyle Stacey, his assistant Harold Wright, Patrick Lamb, and Shaun Jones as being instrumental in showing him the ropes in getting the program up and running this year.
"Shaun Jones was the first one to approach and offer help and Coach Stacey (Former Forrest wrestling coach) has also been very helpful. Patrick Lamb, a former wrestler at Forrest also helped for a while and my assistant, Harold Wright has been indispensable. A lot of people in the community have been very supportive and the job would be very difficult without their support."
Starting from scratch
Because of his lack of experience, Haston came in and was a little overwhelmed at first because of all the rules and restrictions connected to high school wrestling and said, "Learning the restrictions has been the most overwhelming aspect of the job so far."
"In the beginning, we concentrated on strength training, a lot of cardio work, and working on the basic moves. We have a very young squad, just two seniors (Dakota Beasley and Dustin Clark) and we are beginning to move forward and upwards to some advanced techniques."
"My philosophy is you can't quit and you can't give up. Just because something hurts or something happens, you still can't give up. That is what wrestling is about, never giving up."
Forrest does have some experienced grapplers as the squad returns eight members from last year's squad and one wrestler (Clark) who wrestled at Independence High School last season. The returnees are, captains Michael Appleby (So.), Beasley, and Spencer Wright (Jr.) along with Mike Braun (Fr.), Ian Marshall (Fr.), Jacob Terry (Fr.), Erick Warner (So.), and Jonathon Wilkerson (Jr.).
Other members of the Forrest team are juniors Garrick Whaley and Esco Parry, sophomores Chris Freyer, Jay Hartley, Matthew Jackson, Cody Knight, and Ryan Mills. The other freshman is Kenneth Moody and Deanna McFarlin is the only eighth grader and female on the team.
Asked about McFarlin, Haston said, "Deanna has no experience at any sport and her size has caused a small problem so far for her because everybody she goes up against is physically stronger and generally bigger than her. Deanna has a ferociousness about her that is almost scary. She actually pinned an opponent at the T-Town Rumble and I see great promise for her in the future."
Haston talks about his key players
Appleby: "Michael has an unorthodox style, but it works for him. Last week he wrestled one of the top ranked wrestlers in the state and only lost by three points. I expect Michael to go to the State Tournament and place, no question."
Beasley: "Kota is a strong wrestler; he is tenacious, physically strong and mentally strong. He is an overall good wrestler. He is good on top and good on the bottom. I am not seeing too many weaknesses in him, beyond a little bit of a hurt knee right now. He is going to State too."
Braun: "Mike is another strong wrestler; he loves to shoot up out of the bottom position. He does not know a lot of moves, but the ones he knows he knows well. He needs to learn some more moves, but the ones he knows now are working for him. I would be surprised if he does not make it somewhere in state."
Clark: "Dustin has had some issues coming from another program and from different coaches. He has had to move up to 215 where he is a little overmatched, but we are getting him back to 189 where he belongs. Dustin is a great defender and wonderful on the bridge. I believe he will do well and make it to the state."
Marshall: "Ian is very aggressive, willing to learn, and still has a lot to learn. I expect him to do well in the regionals."
Terry: "Jacob is a quick learner and his cardio lasts for days. That boy just does not get tired. He needs to work on his moves and separation. He should do well through the regionals."
Warner: "He's a warrior. "Rock" puts out all the heart and all the effort. If everybody put out the heart and effort Rock did we would be alright. He is great on offense. When he is on the offensive he is better. He needs some work in the down position and getting out of pins. He is going to go to the regionals and then we will see from there."
Wilkerson: "Jonathon was in a car wreck and has an injured back, but he will be back after the McGavock meet. He is strong, physical, just strong all around and fierce. He can't stand to lose and is very driven. He is going to the State Tournament."
Wright: "Spencer has an injured knee and may be out for the season. We had high, high, hopes for him."
Hartley: "Jay is doing great. He is aggressive and willing to learn. He has a killer attitude and goes out to win. He did really well at the T-Town Rumble in Tullahoma."