The Saratoga Sun -

Tourney an up-class battle

Panther grapplers wrestle 3A/4A competition at Shane Shatto Invitational


“The Shatto is not a slouch of a tournament,” Zach Schmidt, head coach for Saratoga wrestling, said. “I knew going into it we were going to see a lot of tough competition.”

Schmidt said the schools that came were mostly 3A and 4A teams. Although Wyoming fielded the most squads, there were teams from Colorado, Nebraska and North Dakota.

“We learned a lot about our team this weekend,” Schmidt said. “Our JV wrestled exceptional.”

He said Jerry Everett went 5-2, Emanuel Cielo got his first takedown and Kaydon Koontz got his first two career wins. Schmidt said Caleb Bangs came in third in his weight.

“Kaden Hedley wrestled tough and our JV definitely gave us a future to be excited about,” Schmidt said. “They wrestled well.”

Schmidt was not disappointed in his team though because the competition was so strong.

“Justin Shotwell, Kagan Gilbert, Tristan Gray, Joey Gonzales and Jaxon King went up against wrestlers that eventually were coming in the top of the tourney,” Schmidt said. “We need to improve on some things, but we had bright spots in what the wrestler did, but it just didn’t go his way.”

Schmidt said the focus now for the team is to correct what they need to win instead of coming close.

“Sometimes we as coaches forget how young our team is,” Schmidt said. “Even our juniors don’t have a ton of varsity experience.”

Schmidt said he feels his team has great things to build off of, but also says there are weaknesses to work on.

He said there was some weight gain that put some wrestlers in another class that made it difficult. Schmidt said this can be remedied.

“They found out, when you jump up, those can be some bigger, stronger guys,” Schmidt said. “We’ve identified what we are going to be focused on the next couple weeks and I know I will see good things in the meets to come.”


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