CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- Great Bridge boasts a rich wrestling history and every student-athlete who passes through the wrestling room has one main goal.
"Everybody's dream is to get up on the wall," Wildcats' head coach Steve Martin said, pointing to the back wall of the room, decorated with the names of every Great Bridge state champion.
"Ever since I came here my freshman year, that's been my one goal," confirmed senior Ty Chittum.
"When everyone's a little kid, they look up at that wall and they want to put their names on it," fellow senior Max Martin added.
Martin has already earned his spot, winning a state crown in 2020. He's seeking a second title at 120 lbs and repeat as king of the mat in the state of Virginia.
"That's the one thing I wanted when I was a little kid and to say that I did it, it's just the biggest relief of my life," Martin said. "It means everything to me."
"I fell short of it two times now and this is my chance," said Chittum, who competes at the 160 lbs weight class. "This is my opportunity to get my name on that wall with a bunch of studs."
Great Bridge has won 20 state team championships, the second-most in Virginia history. None of those storied teams of the past have accomplished what the current group of Wildcats achieved last Friday during the Region 4A tournament. Martin watched his squad sweep the championships, as Great Bridge won all 14 weight classes, a feat that's pretty much unheard of in wrestling. It's believed to be the first time that's ever happened in the state.
"I was joking around with them last week and I said, 'Guys, what I would do if I was on this team is I'd try to break some records. I'd try to win every weight class,'" the head coach said. "I didn't... you know.. and they actually won every weight class."
"Having 14 champs in a regional tournament, every single guy winning, that's something big," the younger Martin added. "If that's not in the history book, it is now."
"Never been a part of anything like that. Never," Chittum said. "We've had some good teams here while I've been here, but that definitely was something special."
Now it's onto states, where all 14 Wildcat starters begin with a chance to get their names on the wall. Of course, the competition takes a jump up, but Great Bridge enters with momentum, confidence and belief.
"It shows us that we've got 14 kids winning the regional finals, we want to win 14 state titles as individuals we all think we can do that," Max Martin said.
Our goal is this weekend coming up," Chittum pointed out. "It was great, we had our moment, but after we left that gym our eyes are now on the state title."
The Class 4, 5 and 6 state championships begin on Friday at the Virginia Beach Sports Center. Finals take place on Saturday evening.