Excited. That is the word coach Jim Potter used to describe how he felt as the Englewood High School wrestling team prepares to open the season. …
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That is the word coach Jim Potter used to describe how he felt
as the Englewood High School wrestling team prepares to open the
“Things are looking good and I’m pleased with our progress,” the
coach said. “The guys we have back are doing well and the young
kids are doing what we ask of them and learning the moves we are
The Pirates opened the season at home Dec. 4 against Conifer.
Potter said he doesn’t have wrestlers for two weight divisions, 103
and 189, but there will be Englewood wrestlers at the other 11
weight divisions. He does have more than one wrestler at two or
three weights, so those not in the varsity lineup will wrestle
However, this weekend, Potter and the coaches will divide the
squad. The veteran wrestlers will travel to Arapahoe High School to
compete in the Warrior Invitational. The remainder of the wrestlers
on the roster will compete in a junior varsity tournament.
The Pirates wrestle their home matches in the Englewood High
School fieldhouse. The matches begin at 7 p.m. and admission is $5
for adults and $3 for students with school identification.
Pirates wrestlers got their first opportunity to work against
wrestlers from another team Nov. 29 when the Mullen team came to
the wrestling room for a scrimmage.
“A scrimmage is a great help to our wrestlers,” the coach said.
“I know it isn’t supposed to be that way but when it’s just our
team in the wrestling room, the same guys usually work against each
other because they are about the same weight. That’s OK but
sometimes, one guy will let up a little so his teammate looks good,
then the teammate returns the favor. But here, at today’s
scrimmage, pride is involved because no one wants to lose against
another school’s wrestler, so everyone is competing harder.”
The tentative first-match roster will be five wrestlers with
varsity experience and six newcomers.
Potter said while it will be a baptism by fire for the
newcomers, he feels they will be up to the challenge and battle
“Our young kids have impressed me,” he said. “They are learning
the moves we are showing them and all of them are working hard and
doing pretty well. Of course, we’ll know better how much they put
what we taught them to use in that first match.”
Chris Montoya is one of the newcomers for the Pirates this
“My stepdad kept urging me to wrestle. A lot of my friends
wrestle and they kept telling me I should come out for the team so
I decided to try it,” the sophomore said. I figured it would be
hard but it’s a lot harder than I expected. The hardest thing is
all the running and … conditioning we do. “I didn’t come to the
first practice in shape and I’m still working to build up my
endurance and stamina. I’m not there yet and sometimes can’t
complete all they ask us to do. But I keep trying and I know I am
getting better all the time.”
He said the coaches have helped him develop his wrestling
techniques. He came in with no wrestling experience and now, at
least has a good grasp of the basics.
“Today’s scrimmage was a good workout and a learning
experience,” he said. “The two guys I wrestled were pretty tough
and I saw some moves I didn’t know anything about like an
ankle-pick. But, I saw how it was done, tried it and it worked for
me so it’s something else I can use in a match.”
Of course, the Pirates have returning lettermen, including Nick
Shepherd, who will help strengthen the team.
“It’s wrestling season again and I’m glad to be out here
because, for some reason, there is a good vibe in the room. The
vibe makes you want to work hard and it’s a lot of fun to be here,”
the Pirates junior said. “Of course, I didn’t report to practice in
wrestling shape so the running and conditioning have been hard, but
I’m getting there.”
Shepherd said he felt he and his teammates did well in the
“Working against wrestlers from another team is a challenge and
I felt our guys all did a great job,” he said. “Going against
another team’s wrestlers and doing well is a confidence builder. I
know it was for me. It also is a chance to see moves different from
what we see in practice every day, a chance to learn new
Shepherd will wrestle at 160 pounds this year, a spot in the
lineup where he feels is ideal for him.
“I don’t have to cut weight to wrestle at 160 and I think that’s
a good thing,” he said. “I like working at that weight. Strength
has always been a strong point for me plus I am pretty quick. I
think I’ll do well at 160s.”
He said he is looking forward to the season opener and will be
looking for the opportunity to use what he feels is his best move,
a double-leg blast to take the opponent to the mat.
Shepherd said his goal this season is to wrestle high in
regionals so he can move on to place at state.
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