Mariner’s new wrestling coach takes flexible approach

By David Pan | Aug 22, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s new boys wrestling coach Joe Barrington-Richards works with some of the team during a practice this summer at the high schoo

Joe Barrington-Richards, who was promoted to Mariner’s head wrestling coach after serving as an assistant last season, said that every student-athlete is different.

“I will tailor my coaching to each kid, depending on what their needs are as a wrestler, student, and as a person,” he said.

Barrington-Richards will be the third head coach in the last three years for Mariner High School. He said he wants to bring stability to the program.

“I’m excited to come back,” Barrington-Richards said. “I’m really gearing toward building a foundation for these kids. They’ve had enough coaches the last few years. I’d like to keep that familiar face and stick it out with them and hopefully build the program back up to the traditions that it held for so long.”

Part of building a solid foundation is providing structure for the student-athletes and having them strive to meet their goals.

“Every kid should have certain fundamentals, and we build off of those fundamentals,” Barrington-Richards said.

He’s found that the best way to achieve goals is to break them down into pieces and build on smaller successes.

Barrington-Richards was a three-sport athlete at Mount Vernon High School. In addition to wrestling, he played football and participated in track and field. He coached for five years at Mount Vernon, took some time off, then joined the Mariner staff last year. For two of the five years at Mount Vernon, he coached girls wrestling.

Mariner has a more diverse student body than Mount Vernon, and that diversity is a strength of the school, Barrington-Richards said. He is impressed by how well the Marauders work together despite their different backgrounds.

“The way that kids get along with each other, it’s unique,” Barrington-Richards said. “I’ve never seen kids get over obstacles that adults today still struggle with. … They’ve passed those things and moved on to the next thing.

“I’m not just teaching them. They also have some things to teach me. It’s pretty awesome.”

Mariner only graduated a handful of seniors, so Barrington-Richards has high aspirations for the upcoming season. He’s hoping the Marauders can improve upon their second-place finish at districts. He’s also looking to send more than four wrestlers to the state tournament – three who wrestled at state are back. Advancing more wrestlers on to state won’t be easy, as last year’s regional tournament was canceled due to snow that paralyzed much of the region.

“I’m hoping to build on the success of the three who are returning to the team,” Barrington-Richards said.

“What it takes to be successful at the state level is something that the kids needed to see. I’m excited that they got that experience so that they can share it. There are a lot of good things that we’re taking from last year and moving forward with this year.”

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