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Pinning 100

Ingraham notches 100th win, King tops state-ranked wrestlers as SHS wrestling gets off to good start

 


Saratoga High School (SHS) senior Thomas Ingraham didn’t have to wait long to notch the hundredth wrestling win of his high school career. After sitting on 99 victories all off-season long, Ingraham didn’t waste any time in blowing past the milestone match, hitting the mark in his first bout of the season.

The eight SHS wresters participated in two competitions over the weekend, with junior Jaxon King and Ingraham representing the team at the varsity level. “I couldn’t have been happier with those two,” SHS wrestling coach Zack Schmidt said afterwards.

The Friday tournament where Ingraham finally hit 100 and King beat two state-ranked wrestlers almost didn’t happen though. Originally, Saratoga was slotted to participate in the Charlie Lake Invite in Cheyenne that day, but with less than 100 hours to go, Schmidt was told the invitational had been over-booked.

Showing off a little fancy footwork of his own, Schmidt sprang into action to find an alternative venue for his grapplers. The coach called up Hayden and Soroco High Schools in Colorado, who had earlier expressed an interest in competing, and the three quickly agreed to an impromptu tournament.

The last-minute competition put some hefty logistical demands on the Panther team. Their bus got back from Colorado after 11:30 p.m. Friday, and the kids had to be back at school to leave for Cheyenne the next morning at 5 a.m.

“It wore on them, but that’s also learning. ‘How do you get your body ready when you’ve had that late night?’” Schmidt said of the turn-around. “Our big prestigious tournaments we’ll hit look just like that (in terms of recuperation time),” the coach continued.

Lack of sleep didn’t seem to slow either King or Ingraham. Facing off against 3A and 4A competition in Cheyenne, Ingraham took third place in the 145 pound weight class, beating three returning State-placers in the process.

King beat two ranked opponents in the state capitol, ending up fifth in the 120 pound division. “It’s not easy to go into overtime and double overtime matches, and (King) did all that and came out on the positive side,” Schmidt noted.

Schmidt wasn’t sparing with his praise for the junior varsity contenders, either. “I was really happy with the heart that was shown (over the weekend),” Schmidt said. “I felt like almost everybody grew from match #1 to match #7.”

During this early phase of the year, Schmidt said he is concentrating on getting his athletes as much experience as he can. He is already doing a little scouting too, though. In Cheyenne, Schmidt said he kept an eye on Glenrock wrestlers. “They were a 3A powerhouse (last year) and I fully see them placing top two at State (this year),” he said.

The Panthers next competition is the Saratoga-hosted “Quadranglular” tournament 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Hanna Elk Mountain, the Rawlins junior varsity and North Park High wrestlers will all participate. Schmidt said he hopes to have two more grapplers ready to join King and Ingraham in varsity action by then. If all goes according to the coach’s plans, all eight of his athletes will be varsity competitors by season’s end.

So far, so good: “To go (to a 3A 4A tournament) as young as we are can be intimidating, and I didn’t see a lot of intimidation (in Cheyenne),” Schmidt said.

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