The Saratoga Sun -

Ten to State

King wins 100th career match at Regionals in Ethete, wrestling team sends 10 of 14 wrestlers to Casper


February 21, 2018

The majority of Saratoga’s high school wrestling team are going to State after competing at the 2A West Regional in Ethete.

“10 wrestlers out of 14 are going,” Zach Schmidt, head wrestling coach said, “We did really well at regionals and Jaxon (King) won his 100th career match.”

King, who participated in State last year, did not place in Regionals because of an injury, but did qualify for State. King was basically wrestling with one arm said Schmidt.

“He was outstanding considering what he was up against.” Schmidt said. “He wrestled the third ranked wrestler in the state with one arm and only lost 2-0.”

Schmidt said King thought hard about how to continue in Regionals due to the wrestler’s injury.

“Jaxon, his family and I discussed how he wanted to proceed after his win at Regionals,” Schmidt said. “It was decided that resting a week before State would probably be best and hope for a good draw and it turned out he got an excellent draw.”

Justin Shotwell was the 106 pound champion of the 2A West Regional. Joey Gonzales placed 4th in the same weight class.

“Justin and Joey wrestled as well as I could ask and if we had just gotten different looks from some of the matches by my wrestlers, we would have been number two or three, instead of five,” Schmidt said.

Caleb Bangs came in third and Jerry Everett placed fourth at 113 pounds. Preston Dew, wrestling at 220 pounds, placed third.

“Although some of my wrestlers didn’t place, they did really well,” Schmidt said.

The Panther wrestlers who qualified for State were Andrew Everett at 126 pounds, Kagan Gilbert at 145 pounds, Tristan Gray and Kaden Hedley both at 170 pounds.

Injury was a factor for most of the wrestlers that did not qualify for State.

Schmidt said the conditioning he put his wrestlers through contributed to how well they did at Regionals.

“If they are in shape at this point, there isn’t really any time for them to get there,” he said. “It is the same about them understanding the sport and what they have to do to win.”

Schmidt said understanding wrestling could be compared to watching ballet.

“The technique of a ballet dancer is not something everyone understands when watching, but once you do, you realize how much work and coordination it takes to pull off the moves they do,” Schmidt says. “Wrestling is similar. Once you understand what you are observing, the more impressed you are by what wrestlers do on the mat.”

Schmidt said he is proud of all his wrestlers for their dedication over the season.

The fact that 10 of 14 are going on to State is just icing on the cake he said with pride.

State will be held in Casper from Feb. 23-24.


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