The boys’ team has also seen their fair share of success this year. And, they also have grown in numbers, equipped with 20 wrestlers, making them more competitive in tournaments.
The one setback for the wrestlers, though, has been a lack of experience. This year, the team only features two seniors and one junior on the squad. The rest of the team is comprised of sophomores and freshmen. However, the team’s new coach, Matt Hood, believes this will be a good ingredient for their future success.
He said that three of the freshmen that wrestled in middle school have been on the varsity team this year. “Being young it makes the future look really bright when it comes to where they are going to be,” the coach said. “We have wrestled quite a bit more this year than we did last year.”
The team will wrestle in a total of eight duels. The team currently has a 4-3 record in their matches.
The coach said that they have one more tournament in Canon City before they wrestle in the league tournament. He said he believes that the team will be successful when it comes to the league, regional, and state tournaments.
The coach said that he changed who the team wrestles to make them more competitive. He cites the goal of winning a league championship in the next year or two. The Woodland Park men grapplers have not achieved this goal since 1988.
The coach said that since he took the reins of the team this season, he also changed the style of wrestling they use.
“I am originally from Iowa and I am a small town farm kid,” Hood said. “When I wrestled there and in junior college I learned a different style of wrestling. The way we wrestle in the Mid-west is an attack style more than we do on defense. So, we have had to really learn the attack style of wrestling. It has been a challenge, but most of them are catching on to it. With that, I think that we are a little bit more competitive.”
He said that currently, one of the team’s seniors, Daniel Summeril, has a good chance of qualifying for the state championship in the competitive 215 lbs. weight class. Summeril currently boasts a record of 16-6. Still, the coach admits he has a tough road ahead in beating the top wrestler in the state.
Senior Logan Keith has also done well on the mats this year with a 17-8 record. But, like Summeril, he also has some tough bouts with top wrestlers in his 144 lbs. weight class.
“Those two seniors probably have the toughest road ahead of them to stay competitive,” Hood said. “But, they are the two that have the most experience to get there.”
The coach said that there are some other WP wrestlers that said could be successful in the regional championships. Sophomore Bryson Leonhardt sports a 19-7 record, and the coach believes he is looking strong in the 157 lbs. weight class.
The coach said that his son, sophomore Aiden Hood, also has a good chance to make it to state in the 165 lbs. weight class. He said that Sophomore Parker Shreeve has also been providing good competition in the same weight class.
Under a best-case scenario, the coach is hopeful that five or six of his wrestlers will qualify for the state championship this year.