Lake Forest wrestling is a family affair

FELTON – As a parent it’s always nice to see your child excel both academically and athletically during their high school careers.

What’s even better is when you can witness your child’s success up close and personal.

That’s what Scott Fleming is currently experiencing as an assistant coach on a Lake Forest wrestling team that includes both his sons, Dean and Seth.

“I love coaching them but it’s tough during a live match,” said Scott during a recent practice. “Actually, it’s kind of strange coaching my own sons no matter if it’s practice or during a match.”

Scott does his best to not show his emotions, but it does get difficult at times.

The Fleming family, from left, Seth, Scott and Dean, are playing an important part in the success of the Lake Forest wrestling program. Scott is an assistant coach, while Seth and Dean are freshman and junior wrestlers, respectively. (Special to The Journal/Bill Mitchell)

The Fleming family, from left, Seth, Scott and Dean, are playing an important part in the success of the Lake Forest wrestling program. Scott is an assistant coach, while Seth and Dean are freshman and junior wrestlers, respectively. (Special to The Journal/Bill Mitchell)

“It’s hard because you are so tied into it because they are my sons,” he said. “If you see me during a match that includes one of my sons it’s obvious I do get very emotional.

“I try my best to keep my feelings in check; however, sometimes I do lose it especially if the match is close.”

Unlike their teammates, Dean and Seth may continue to get positive or negative coaching tips at home.

“Actually, they do like that kind of communication at home,” said Scott. “I try to keep it as limited as I can, which is something I learned from (Lake football coach and athletic director) Freddie (Johnson) watching him how he coached his son, Noah.”

Spartans head wrestling coach Mike Hansen said both Dean and Seth are an important part of the success of the program.

“Dean, who is a junior this year, has probably been our most consistent wrestler this season,” said Hansen. “I can’t say enough about his work ethics since the day he joined the team as a freshman.

“He is a big help as a leader this year because he has been to two straight conference dual meet tournaments. So, he knows what it takes and he works hard every day and his teammates definitely see what he’s doing.”

Dean doesn’t have a problem with his dad being one of the wrestling assistant coaches.

“I know with him being here I have to really push myself,” he said. “He will tell me when I do things wrong and he will also tell me when I do things correctly.

“I also enjoy having Seth on the varsity team this year. Since we are brothers, we really get into it

because I can’t let him beat me and he doesn’t want me to beat him.”

While he said his freshman season has been okay, Seth wants it to be better.

“It’s a lot harder here than in middle school,” Seth said. “I was hoping to do better this year, but I know I will do better.”

Seth, following a very good middle school career, entered the program this year.

“Seth came in this year as a freshman with high expectations,” said Hansen. “Pound for pound, he is our best freshman.

“Like his brother, Seth comes in every day and works hard from the start to the end of practice.

“While Dean is, of course, the more seasoned wrestler, Seth is cleaning up some things as for as the technical part of wrestling and is quickly learning to be successful at the varsity level.”

Because the Spartans, who lost 13 wrestlers to graduation after last season, are a young team, Seth is getting the type of experience most wrestlers don’t encounter.

“There have been a few times this season where I moved Seth up a weight class because I knew he could handle it,” said Hansen. “He’s doing very well. There are times when he is hanging in there with some of the best wrestlers in the state and there are times he fall a little short.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that what he’s experienced this season will put him among the best wrestlers in the state in the near future.”

Scott is an important part of the Lake Forest wrestling program at all levels.

“Scott has helped out in the past since I got here and this year he came on fulltime,” said Hansen. “It’s been great because, in addition to helping with the junior varsity and varsity, Scott and I run the youth wrestling program. So, it’s easy for me to say that Scott is extremely valuable to wrestling in the Lake Forest School District.”

While he enjoyed his time as the Lake Forest head wrestling coach, Scott said he likes his position as an assistant better.

“I feel I’m a much better assistant coach than a head coach,” he said. “Coach Hansen is doing a great job and I like working with him.

“Actually, I did miss a lot of the things my sons were doing as they were growing up because of the time it takes to be the head coach.

“The main thing is that my sons love Coach Hansen because he’s a straight shooter and he treats all the kids on the team the same.”

The Henlopen Conference Championships will be held at Dover Feb. 19-20, followed by the DIAA Individual Championships at Cape Henlopen Feb. 26, 27.

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