Technique to define Wolverines matmen this season

Posted 12/5/08

For a month, wrestlers from Chaparral High School have been beating on each other. They were more than ready to beat on Rock Canyon to kick off the …

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Technique to define Wolverines matmen this season


For a month, wrestlers from Chaparral High School have been beating on each other. They were more than ready to beat on Rock Canyon to kick off the season.

And everyone else they will face.

Nine varsity grapplers return to the Wolverines mats, and two state qualifiers are back to help lead the team and bring many more back to the Class 5A show in February. Returning from state mats last season are senior captain Caleb McDowell, a two-time state placer, and junior Jackson Julian. However, the varsity roster is not shy of additional senior leadership. Another senior captain looking for a breakout season is Kenny Stancil, whom spectators will see in the 145-pound class this season.

“Our kids know a lot of wrestling. Our team has always known a lot of wrestling,” Wolverines coach Rod Padilla said. “I think right now what’s really big is we have a lot of team chemistry. They all get along. They push each other, and they’re having fun. And they’re working hard.”

McDowell said his personal goal is to dominate throughout the season.

“I want to pretty much show everyone I can be No. 1 without choking at state,” he said. “We have some new guys, and we look a lot tougher. We’re much more technically sound. They are much harder-working guys. They aren’t just riding on talent.”

Of course, intensity and hard work begins in the wrestling room. Chaparral’s practice regimes are reputed as being some of the most intense among high school teams.

“It helps out a lot,” McDowell said. “Our practices are some of the hardest in the state, and we know a lot of techniques, so that helps.”

Among other returning Chaparral grapplers is Andrew Diehl at heavyweight and Kyle Mustain at 112, as well as Taylor Jacobs, Brennen Reed, Bryce Thurston and Dan Trygstad. Jacobs makes a jump from the 103-pound class to 119 this season. Reed also bumps up to 135 from 125. Although Thurston could be seen in either class this year, he is expected to wrestle at 171, up from 160. Trygstad goes from 171 to 189 this year.

Jacob Boyd, Dan Martin and Dan McGuire help fill out the varsity roster this time around after being half-time varsity grapplers last year.

Padilla said the grapplers’ off-season was no slack season either. The Wolverines saw team or individual camps over the summer in Pennsylvania and Ohio, among others. They experienced a lot of freestyle and travel over the summer, the coach said.

Chaparral’s team goals haven’t changed much from year to year, but the program wants to make more noise at some of its out-of-state tournaments, like its annual show in Colby, Kan.

“We wrestle some of the top teams in Kansas at Colby,” Padilla said. “We’re hoping to win that this year.”

Last year, Chaparral was fifth at Colby with a 6-1 record. Three years ago, the Wolverines won that tournament.

“We’ve always been on the championship side,” the coach said. “We’ve always been in the top five with all those teams there, all their top dogs.”

Like a handful of other wrestling teams in Colorado, Padilla said out-of-state competition helps expose Chaparral’s kids to different styles, and it gives its coaches a chance to assess their grapplers.

“We’ll pick up a lot of things,” Padilla said. “The other thing we like [at Colby] is, we get to wrestle seven times. Win, lose or draw, each kid wrestles seven times. We can evaluate and then talk about what we call our AOC, areas of concern. … Now, they’ll know exactly what they need to work on.”

At home, Chaparral aspires to win the Continental League and its region, as well as put up a win against cross-town rival and six-time defending state champion Ponderosa. A 5A finish in the top two spots is also a team objective this year.

“We’ve worked hard all summer, all off-season. and we want our hard work to pay off,” Stancil said. “My personal goal is to qualify for state and just work as hard as I can; leave it all out on the mat, so if I don’t reach my goal, I can leave with no regrets. As far as the team goals, we want to win state this year. We want to beat Ponderosa.”

Above all, Stancil said he hopes Chaparral’s opponents will notice their work in the wrestling room.

“I want them to say, ‘Dang, what are those guys doing that we’re not?’” he said. “We’re practicing in the mornings. We’re doing stuff that’s extra that the other teams aren’t doing. They’re going to be wishing they’re working as hard as us.”

At the moment, there isn’t much talk about the Wolverines, which is just how Padilla likes it.

“Nobody talks about us a whole lot on the [wrestling] Web sites and so forth, but we’re there and we’re proud,” he said. “I’m glad nobody talks about us. They’re all talking about Legacy, talking about Coronado and Pine Creek and Ponderosa and all those guys. It’s OK. I like being under the radar.

“We have a lot of good, hard-working kids and good students. … We’ve got a lot of kids who are scholar athletes on this team. It’s just a good mix of kids, and they just have great character. They travel and they take care of each other.”

Among the team’s scholars, Thurston is second in his class, while senior Tyler Stenger, Jacobs and Stancil are all pre-med.

The Wolverines have their first home match-up Dec. 11 against Mountain Vista at Chaparral High School in Parker.


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