Oak Creek Soroco senior Dillon Koler said he remembers what the state wrestling tournament is all about.
“It’s a different standard of wrestling,” he said.
He qualified as a sophomore, and after coming up short in his junior season, the goal is not only to get back there but also to do so ready for that "different standard.”
“This is the last chance,” Koler said.
Koler leads a group of seven Ram wrestlers that brings experience but not yet accomplishment. Cody Constine was fifth in the region a year ago, and veteran Colton Martindale is back. Garrett McCuller and Nate Regan have wrestled elsewhere but will be making their Soroco debuts this weekend.
Just what the group can grow into depends on who steps up, or if anyone does.
“We need someone who is a super-duper worker,” Soroco coach Jay Whaley said. “That’s contagious. When someone is going 100 miles per hour all the time, other kids have to do it to keep up.”
The Rams will be joining Hayden and Steamboat in Saturday’s trip to Middle Park High School for a season-opening tournament. Their eyes also are focused a week down the road to Soroco’s own invitational, a second annual tournament that this year is expected to attract 11 schools.
2012-13 Rams wrestling schedule
Steamboat set, this time with seniors
Seniors are as regular a part of high school sports programs as long road trips and pushy parents. For the Steamboat Springs High School wrestling coach Shane Yeager, however, seniors have been as much a part of his team these past four seasons as unicorns.
Starting his fifth season since he took over a struggling, tiny program in 2008, Yeager has not had a senior finish a season. Three of the best now have risen through the classes and are set for their senior seasons, and that takes a little getting used to.
“It’s great because they provide leadership,” he said. “It’s not just me in the room saying it now. We have these guys who are down to their last year of eligibility, and they feel the clock ticking. That’s a positive influence in the room.”
Those seniors — Nathan Parks, Dane Koepfer and Guerin Lewis — are the leaders of a team that may be one of the best Steamboat has fielded in the past decade.
Parks leads the way after he qualified for the state tournament a year ago. He won one match there, finishing 1-2, and is eager to get back.
The Sailors' season-opening matches, Saturday at a tournament in Middle Park, couldn’t arrive soon enough.
“He’s been wanting this bad,” Yeager said. “He’s been bugging me for two or three months to start wrestling. He’s excited to go.”
Steamboat had 14 athletes out this year, and it hopes to fill all but one weight class.
“We’ve come a long way,” Yeager said. “I don’t even know the last time we were close to filling out the weights.”
2012-13 Sailors wrestling schedule
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com