Wrestling: Billot familiar with new team
Chris Billot may be Clear Creek's new head coach, but he's not a stranger to the Wildcats or the program that started in 2006.
Billot was Clear Creek's assistant the past three years and shared many duties with former head coach Eric Thompson, who left to create another new program at Clear Falls, the newest Clear Creek ISD high school.
"It was almost like we had two head coaches when I worked with Eric," Billot said. "It was a good partnership, and I was right beside him, and that's really helped make for a seamless transition."
The new leader has seen a number of Wildcats step up during the first part of the season like junior John Batterson (130-pound division), seniors Adrian DeLoach (145) and Troy Paylow (152), and juniors Austin Mata (152/160) and Robert Genter (285).
The Lady Wildcats are led by senior and three-time state qualifier Hayley Mitchell (185) and classmate Theresa Rufila (95).
The Clear Creek girls sent three to state last season, including Mitchell, and the team is hoping to take an even larger contingent to Austin in a couple of months.
Batterson started wrestling as a freshman at the advise of his sister, Jazmine Batterson, a former Lady Wildcat.
"She told me I could probably make varsity as a freshman (which he did), so I gave it a try," he said. "I gave up baseball for wrestling, and I really love it, and it's been an easy transition with coach Billot taking over."
Batterson was a region qualifier last year and is 18-5 this season.
Billot sees Clear Lake as the team to beat in 24-5A.
"They're still the top dog, and they have a couple of district titles, and a lot of the same kids coming back," he said, "and Brazoswood is always tough, as is West Brook, and we'll find out more about the district when everyone gets back in action in January."
Clear Creek returns to workouts next week before competing in a tri-match at 5 p.m. on Jan. 5 at Westside with Katy Taylor.
The Wildcats are also scheduled to participate in the 127-team (72 boys, 55 girls) Cy-Fair ISD Invitational on Jan. 7-8 at the Berry Center.
That will lead up to the 24-5A Tournament on Feb. 5 at Clear Lake.
Billot is a 2000 Pearland graduate who did not wrestle in high school because it wasn't available.
"I was coaching football and (wrestling coach) Eric (Thompson) asked me to be an assistant, and that's how I got into it," Billot said. "I learned a lot from him, and I've studied and really fell for the sport, and this is just a great opportunity.
"We're hoping to see more schools get into wrestling, and hopefully down the road, we'll see Pearland and Texas City and some of the others that have great athletes start programs.
"It's very popular in the northern part of the Houston area, and I really believe it's going to continue to grow around us."
The Region III Tournament is Feb. 11-12 at a site to be determined, and the University Interscholastic League State Tournament is Feb. 25-26 at the Delco Center in Austin.
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