It’s one of, if not THE, main ingredient for the type of success that the Mustangs accomplished last season.
The same is true for anything the club hopes to achieve this go-round.
The 2011-2012 Ola squad — paced by an individual state champ — capped off that season with a top six showing at the GHSA state tourney.
But, that lineup was younger and less experienced than this year’s squad.
This year’s bunch has a handful of seniors leading the way but has several underclassmen that are getting better every week, Mustangs insiders say.
“We finished top six at the state Dual Wrestling Championships and lost by one point to Woodland of Bartow in the Semi-finals,” said Ola coach Joey Dinino. “I like the steps forward I’m seeing from the team, but we’ve gotta compete with more passion.
“I think that was the difference in the Woodland of Bartow match.”
There goes that word again — passion.
Jimmy Carman, the aforementioned 195-pound king, has it in spades. So do the Mustangs other 2012-13 standouts.
They include Seth Osborne (106 lbs), Hunter Hogan (132), Jordan Germany (138), Ean Wilson (145), Aaron Branch (170), Jaden Smith (182) and Hunter Watkins (220).
While boasting a stable brimming with talent, Ola’s results don’t appear to show it.
The team turned in fifth place finishes at the likes of the South Metro Invitational and War Eagle Classic and a fourth place showing at the Valdosta Invitational.
The reason for what might be perceived as under-achieving is clear, Dinino pointed out.
“Our accomplishments are deceiving because we competed with half a lineup in all our meets except Area and State Duals,” he explained.
But, that’s in the Mustangs’ rearview as the GHSA state tourney looms large.
Look for Ola to be at or near peak performance heading into qualifiers.
Don’t expect this group of grapplers to be too uptight, though. Actually, this team with “a fun personality but knows how to work hard” is a reflection of its coaching.
Acceptance and application of the Ola code of conduct — on and off the mat — comes along with that.
“I think the biggest principle I preach to my guys is making good choices, Dinino said.
“I really only have one rule for my teams: ‘Don’t do anything that’s detrimental to you. Because it will be detrimental to our program and to Ola High School.’”