Middle Park mat men gear up for wrestling season
While snowy weather has descended upon Grand County, things are heating up in gymnasiums as high school wrestling season heads into full swing.
This year’s Middle Park High School wrestling squad features 15 wrestlers, including two returning state qualifiers, and a cadre of scrappy young mat men. Leading the way for the Panthers for the 2018-19 season will be three senior boys: Dylan Kloss, Tel Linke and Ty Lange. Both Kloss and Linke qualified for the 3A state tournament last year, which features the top 16 wrestlers in a given weight division competing for the title of state champion.
Middle Park High School Head Wrestling Coach Brian Stuart said he is expecting big things out of all three boys. Stuart highlighted Kloss and Linke’s efforts at last year’s state tournament, noting that both boys went 0-2 at the tournament and both lost their first round match to a wrestler that would go on to win the state title in their respective divisions. Stuart said he is also hoping to see a lot of success from Lange, who he called tough and added, “He has put together a really good first two weeks, finishing second at Soroco and taking fourth at our meet.”
Stuart also highlighted junior James Gallegos as another wrestler to watch closely this season.
“Once he gets down on weight he will be a solid 152 pounder for us,” Stuart said. “I am hoping he gets down to the state tournament also.”
Middle Park’s wrestling team is fairly young with 10 of the team’s 15 wrestlers being either freshmen or sophomores. Despite their youth, though, the team is fairly experienced with only two boys, one sophomore and one junior, being first time wrestlers this season. The 15 wrestlers represent weight classes ranging from 106 pounds up to heavyweight.
“Light (weight) wise, I think we are going to do well,” Stuart said. “We will be a really good dual team, top to bottom.”
Stuart said his goal for the year is to send at least four wrestlers to the state tournament and to score at least some team points.
Practices for the Middle Park wrestlers began in mid-November. The season officially kicked off Dec. 1 with the Middle Park Invitational. The wrestlers followed that event with the Soroco Invitational on Dec. 8. A quad at Gilpin County that was initially scheduled for Dec. 12 was canceled making Saturday’s West Grand Invitational in Kremmling the team’s next competition.
Stuart is joined on the coaching staff by assistant coach PJ Holmes. Both are Middle Park graduates and former members of the high school wrestling team.
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