Summit seniors make final wrestling push
FARMER’S KORNER – The goal doesn’t change for the Summit High School wrestling team, just how close it comes.
Last year, John Wheeler could hardly have been closer, falling just one win – 6 points – short of qualifying for the State Tournament. Of the team’s three seniors this year, the 130-pounder has the best shot at becoming the first wrestler under coach Scott Giles to break through to the Pepsi Center.
“That’s the coach’s big goal and my big goal,” Wheeler said. “Every day I get better. I just have to work harder and learn some more.”
The team boasts 12 wrestlers this season, up from seven last year. It graduated no seniors, and was bolstered by a solid class of seven freshmen.
The continuity Giles has created by simultaneously coaching the middle and high school teams the past two years has begun to show up on the roster.
“The numbers are coming up,” Giles said. “I’m really excited. If I can keep those numbers each year, in four years, I’ll have a full team.”
That’s something Summit hasn’t had in four years.
Even with 12 wrestlers, Summit is missing bodies at five of the 17 weight classes. So wins at duals and triangular meets will be almost impossible against the Jefferson County schools Summit will face this year, schools with much higher enrollments.
But that won’t affect the personal goals of the individuals on the team.
Aaron Nelson enters his senior year hoping, first and foremost, to start every meet. Nelson’s list of injuries is wince-inducing: a concussion as a freshman, an elbow problem as a sophomore, a hamstring tear as a junior, a broken leg earlier this year.
He is healthy now and eager to show what he can do given a full season of opportunity.
“I was out the first four weeks last year, and everyone else was that far ahead of me,” Nelson (145 pounds) said. “This year, I really want to show everyone how good I am.”
Zac Conklin, at 135 pounds, rounds out the senior class. He is in his second year with the team after moving to Summit County to wrestle, go to school and play drums in the local punk rock band, Special Ed.
Two veterans, juniors Steven Chavez and Ben Child, are nursing lingering football injuries, and Giles is unsure when or if to expect them in the wrestling room.
The team’s only junior, Jacob Smith, moved to Summit County this year from Pennsylvania. He’ll wrestle at 135 pounds.
Sophomore Charles Keeling is coming off a solid freshman season and will try to make noise as a 119-pounder this year.
The freshmen are: Brady Brunvand (103), Stephan Collard (125), Ethan Colvin (119), Tim Gurule (130), Daniel Kocher (140), Chris Lleres (189) and Andrew Teal (152).
The wrestling season begins today with a dual vs. Elizabeth at SHS. Summit’s home invitational – the Tiger’s Lair – is Dec. 14.
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