But despite his success last season, Smith said there was still plenty he wanted to improve on.
"I was really happy about it," Smith said of his performance last season. "It was a big accomplishment for me, especially as a freshman, so I'm looking to placing this year. It motivated me to move forward and be even better. I wanted to improve my overall strength and quickness and get some more technique."
While neither Skeens nor Smith was quite sure just how much he has improved considering his lack of action thus far this year, being back in St. Albans sure seemed to reestablish a competitive drive that reached its peak back in football season.
The Wildcats' football team ended an 18-game losing streak at the detriment of the Red Dragons back on Sept. 14, and that feeling was something Smith was more than happy to bring up again on Friday.
"[Football] was a great experience," Smith said. "For me, the St. Albans game was just different than any other game so far that I've played. Just to end the losing streak on that game, on that night was just really special."
If the wrestling program continues to grow, the young Wildcats have a chance to put together something special themselves this season and in the future, and that is the priority of Skeens and company right now.
"Honestly, feeder programs and getting the midget leagues strong," Skeens said, alluding to factors that would help the program. "The middle school had 52 kids that came out but they're not there right now, they're down to less than 20. A lot of kids come out and find out it's a tough sport and they don't like taking the whoopings on the mat. But I tell my kids they've got to learn to lose before they learn to win."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.