For the third consecutive year, Summit High School wrestler Nick Wittrock is bound for the Pepsi Center and the Colorado state wrestling tournament.
“It’s feels great. I’m so ecstatic,” Wittrock said Wednesday prior to his final practice before heading to Denver. “Going to the state tournament at the Pepsi Center is pretty cool. I’m glad that I’ve been able to do it three years in a row.”
Now a senior, he said that his past experiences at state will be something to build on this year. As a sophomore he was eliminated after his first two matches in the 16-wrestler, double-elimination format. Last year Wittrock took fifth.
Now he’s hoping the third time is the charm, and he’s got his sights set on the state title in the 126-pound weight class.
“This year I have the experience; hopefully I’m going to win this time,” he said.
His coach, Peter Baker, believes that this year he has what it takes.
“I said it last year, he can win the tournament. I think Nick has everything in his power to be state champion. He can win.”
Wittrock’s 31-4 season record would seem to back that up.
In a county where wrestling plays second fiddle to any number of other sports and outdoor endeavors, he’s had the dedication to stay with it for all four years. Which, Baker said, says a lot about his work ethic.
“It’s a hard sport, kids don’t understand the dedication it takes, they can’t hang and they quit showing up. He did phenomenal this year. Wrestling is as much physical as it is mental. It’s an intelligent sport as much as it is a physical sport. Last year Nick put those two together.”
Wittrock will hit the mat for his first match at 7 p.m. Thursday evening.
The state tournament runs through Saturday.
To win his weight class Nick will need four straight wins against tough competition.
“At state every kid is a stud,” he said. “You have to go out there and make no mistakes. It may come down to a point or two.”
When asked what it will take, Baker said, “Nick will win if he shows up and does what he needs to do both physically and mentally. He just has to go out and wrestle.”
“The whole year has been leading up to this moment,” Whittrock said. “This is my last year. I’m just going to leave it all on the mat.”