Sixteen wrestlers qualify for state despite team adversity

by Charlee Christensen

The NS wrestling season has come to an end with the team taking 16 wrestlers to state, with Dalton Anderson taking second and Luis Rodriguez taking fifth.

The state tournament is double elimination, and although 16 students made it to the tournament, only four advanced to the second day.

“We had two division champions this year,” said head coach Bryan Strain. “We had four in the top four, and 16 qualify for state. The team this year came a long way—they made some turns, did the right things when they needed to, came together and it paid off.”

The team has worked hard to succeed this season, even though it was a tough one.

“It’s been a very good and bad season at the same time,” Strain said. “We’ve had to deal with a lot of loss and overcome some pretty steep obstacles.”

The team lost some wrestlers to injury, poor choices and the team lost a close friend and previous wrestler during the season as well, requiring the team to put in the work to be successful.

“We had our ups and our downs, and we overcame a lot of adversity to be at state,” junior Adrian Lemus said.

In addition to these obstacles, those who took eighth had a disadvantage because they had to wrestle the number one seed from the other division in the first round.

“The goal for me as a coach this year has just to see kids reach their potential, and we’re seeing it,” Strain said. “There are some individuals who didn’t think they were going to be in the running for anything and they are, and that’s what you want to see as a coach.”

Anderson and Rodriguez both placed first at region, putting them in a good seed at state.

“I wish I had a better mental game,” Anderson said. “I thought I wasn’t going to be that great. This is only my second year wrestling, so I didn’t think I was going to do good, but I’ve clearly proven myself wrong.”

While only two placed at state, the coaches and team are very proud of their hard work.

“The team has matured a lot,” Strain said. “They’ve come together as individuals and as a team. They’ve put in a lot of hard work. They’ve really bought into the fact that their hard work is going to pay off and that they can achieve their goals.”

Just making it to state wasn’t enough. The wrestlers practiced hard, even having a couple two-a-days the week before.

“I had to put in a lot of extra work with my friends and my brothers on top of practice to make it to state,” Rodriguez said.

They continued to use their defeats as fuel for them to get better.

“They’ve continued to get better every week and have worked on the things they needed to become better,” Strain said. “We’ve won matches that we lost earlier in the season.”

They are sad the season is coming to an end, but it was a successful and fun season for the team.

“This is the best season I’ve ever had,” Rodriguez said.

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