The Northwest College wrestling team opened its season at the Cowboy Open in Laramie over the weekend in what head coach Jim Zeigler called “a learning experience.”
Zeigler said his young team has a lot of room for improvement.
“It was a fairly disappointing performance, I thought,” he said. “But it’s early in the season — there’s lots of time for improvement. I had hoped for a better performance. I think we’ll get there, but just in comparison to years past, our performance was really down.”
Trappers Yair Moran, Porter Fox and Logan Sondrup all posted 2-2 records for the tournament.
The Trappers won nine out of 31 matches wrestled, with many of the opponents representing other two-year schools.
“That was disappointing,” Zeigler said of the losses to two-year opponents.
As for what he liked out of his wrestlers, Zeigler said a few of his athletes, after initial losses, were able to regroup and wrestle better. First-match jitters were replaced by resolve and determination.
“I got to see the guys actually wrestle without fear,” he said. “I think they initially, when they have a loss, they’re fearful of losing. But they were able to move on from it and open up a bit.”
Zeigler called Moran’s and Porter’s performances “the two best performances of the meet,” with each going 2-2. Moran’s wins, at 174 pounds, came via a pin over Montana State-Northern’s Chance Barrus and a technical fall over Cody Manuelito from Northwest Kansas Technical College.
“Moran had two really good wins, and both his losses were really close and hard-fought against quality opponents,” Zeigler said. “He showed a lot of potential.”
Porter’s wins, at 184 pounds, were a pin against NKTC’s Xavier Pate and a 10-3 decision over Jason Gissel from Utah Valley University. Zeigler said Porter brings grit and a fierce work ethic to the team.
“Talent-wise, he [Porter] isn’t extremely gifted, he just brings a real grit, a real work ethic and a real good attitude towards competing,” he said.
Sondrup also finished with a 2-2 record at 165 pounds, taking a 5-2 decision over Western Wyoming’s Jared Bird and a 12-7 decision over Jonathan Fanfan of NKTC.
William Fish at 125 pounds, Palmer Schafer at 149 pounds and Boburjon Berdiyorov at 133 pounds all finished with one win for Northwest.
Zeigler said the team has worked on mental preparation in practice this week, ahead of a scheduled dual meet against Otero Junior College Friday and the NWC Open Saturday, both at Cabre Gym. The wrestlers logged some classroom time with the coaching staff.
“These are lessons that these young men need to know — attention to detail, the little things that help you improve,” Zeigler said. “We’ve been going over dietary plans, sleep patterns, things that involve their health. And we looked at things that involved their commitment level, their desire to win. Where that fits in with everything else that they have — academics, social life — and what the expectations are, particularly for scholarship athletes. Not in terms of wins and losses, but in terms of your very best effort representing Northwest College.”
With a busy weekend coming up for the Trappers, Zeigler said he expects his guys to compete hard, and he’ll see where the team goes from there.
“My main objective this weekend, rather than trying to emphasize winning and losing, is trying to emphasize doing things correctly,” he said. “Winning will come.”