LAKE LUZERNE - For several weeks, 25 wrestlers from Hadley-Luzerne and Lake George high schools have been exercising to build speed, strength and skills, as well as lunging at each other and muscling each other to the mat.
The two schools have launched their second year as the War-Eagles, a joint wrestling team sanctioned by Section II and competing in the Class CC division.
Last year, the group had considerable success for a rookie squad. Wrestlers hailing from Lake George did quite well, although they were fielding a squad of wrestlers for the first time in recent history.
The joint team is coached by Larry Rounds of Hadley-Luzerne and Jack LaBombard, the famed coach from Queensbury, who's coaching on behalf of Lake George High.
Rounds said he expects the team to tally more victories this year than the four or so the team enjoyed during their debut year.
"Last year, the majority of the kids had never wrestled before and we were concentrating on assembling a team," he said. "Now we've got veterans returning with some experience, and we're stepping up our schedule."
The team is titled the "War Eagles," reflecting the combined nicknames of their two host schools. Like last year, the team will be wrestling all its home matches in the Hadley-Luzerne High School gymnasium, except for a meet at Lake George against rival Warrensburg.
LaBombard said the War-Eagles have a bright future, considering their athleticism, intelligence and perseverance.
"The work ethic of this group is phenomenal," he said. "It's something all coaches should experience."
Their dedication to the sport, their willingness to learn and their outstanding conditioning paid off last year, considering their remarkable achievements.
Senior Cecil Hayes placed third in all of Section II last year. Jack Clark, Hunter Hamilton and Jason Yard amassed enough wins to qualify for the Section II tournament.