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Full Sterling High School wrestling team returns 4 state qualifiers


Sterling Wrestling Schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 5 @ Fort Morgan 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 7 @ Res. Christian 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 9 @ Columbine

Thursday, Dec. 14 vs Wray 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 16 @ Sidney/Bridgeport 9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 19 vs. Yuma 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 6 @ Legend Invite

Thursday, Jan. 11 @ Wiggins 7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 12 @ Florence Tournament 8 a.m.

Saturday, Jan. 13 @ Florence Tournament 12 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 20 @ Strasburg Tournament

Thursday, Jan. 25 vs. Valley 5:30 p.m.; vs. Brush 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 28 @ Valley Tournament

Thursday, Feb. 1 @ Crossover 6:30 p.m.

The Sterling High School wrestling team returns a large group of upperclassmen, including four state qualifiers from last season.

The seniors on the roster are Ernesto Ochoa and Pacen Whited. Ochoa qualified for the 3A state tournament at 138 pounds last season and is wrestling in the 145-pound weight class this season. While the team only has two seniors, it boasts a junior class of 14 wrestlers. It’s the highest number of grapplers that coach Chad Duncan has coached from one class.

The junior class includes Michael Shepard (113 pounds), Tyler Torres (120 pounds), Dominic Vargas (126 pounds), Zach Loft (132 pounds), Isaac De Leon (138 pounds), Tristan Lambrecht (145 pounds), Taylor Devie (152 pounds), Traevonn Walton (152 pounds), James Austin (170 pounds), Carlos Rodriguez (170 pounds), Tate Green (195 pounds), Eleazar Chavez (195 pounds), Austen Brunkhardt (195 pounds), and Clayton Funkhauser. Seven of the junior wrestlers travel from Caliche to compete in the sport at Sterling.

“Some may be new to the sport or have limited mat time, but still, I think the maturity is going to help us,” Duncan said. “We have good numbers in the room, so I think we are spread out this year to have a full lineup if we keep everyone healthy and their minds straight.”

The coach said placing a wrestler in every weight class is key, especially in competitive league duals. In past years, he’s had trouble filling in spots at every class, with too many wrestlers at the same weight.

Aside from Ochoa, sophomore Drew Book returns to the team after qualifying for the state tournament at 195 pounds last season. Other returning state qualifiers include Green and Loft. Dylan Prelle, who was a senior last season, was the team’s lone member of the team to place at state.

“Some years it’s just seniors, so it’s good to have underclassmen go and get that taste,” Duncan said, “and maybe even the taste of defeat up there because I think that’s a great motivator for them, especially early in the season.”

The main thing that Duncan stressed to the team in the opening weeks of practice was to improve at something every time they come to practice. He tells them to get better each day and if not, they’re wasting their time in practice. Even if it’s slight improvements, the coach doesn’t want his team to sit idle.

“From day one, you have to have the right attitude in the wrestling room,” Duncan said. “If you step in the room, you’re there for one reason and that’s to get better. They’re working hard and I know some of them have some pretty lofty goals for the state tournament. Hopefully, some of the younger wrestlers see how they are working and it will be contagious in the room.”

Underclassmen on the team include sophomores Jeremiah Deleon, Miguel Reyna, and Book, along with freshmen Austin Garcia, Dylan Zwirn, Riley Bornhoft, Logan Bohler, Moises Rivas, and Michael Campbell. Duncan says that it’s up to the individual to earn a starting spot at a weight class and that the lineup will change a lot, even up until after Christmas break.

The team started the new season off strong, defeating Weld Central 46-36 in their first matches. Bornhoft, De Leon, Walton, Devie, Brunkhardt, Book, and Torres each recorded wins.

Kyle Inman: 970-526-9298, inmank@journal-advocate.com

Article source: http://www.journal-advocate.com/sports/ci_31498658/full-sterling-high-school-wrestling-team-returns-4

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