A state qualifier and handful of other upperclassmen will lead the young Pueblo West High School wrestling team this season, along with new head coach Ryan Schumann.
“I think we have about seven juniors and seniors total, so we’re pretty young. That makes for a fun and exciting year because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Schumann said. “It really is something to see these kids grow up.”
Travis Myers, a junior this year, entered the state competition last year in the No. 10 position, but climbed up to finish fourth in the 138-pound class. Schumann said he will wrestle at 138 or 145 this year and did well at a couple of tournaments this summer.
“He’s already an established wrestler and he’ll be successful again this year,” Schumann said.
Another team leader is senior Trevor Encinias, at 182 pounds, who was born with one leg.
With previous experience under his belt, Schumann said Encinias serves as a strong example for younger wrestlers and is a hard worker.
Another senior is Brock Wahlert, who will wrestle at 152 or 160 pounds. He was injured last season with a broken hand, but now that he’s healthy Schumann looks for him to do well.
“I think probably 65 percent of the kids we have this year are first-time wrestlers. There’s a lot of talent there though. I think we’ll have some freshman and tough sophomores that can make an impact for this team,” Schumann said.
As the new head coach this season, Schumann said he’s excited to continue relationships he started building with many of the athletes during football season or in his math classroom.
His favorite part is showing kids that they were wrestlers and just never knew it.
“Some of the younger ones that I talked about coming out, I said that I have a sport for them, they just didn’t know it yet,” Schumann said.
“A kid walking the halls has no idea he might be able to wrestle, so it’s fun to see what might happen.”
Schumann has a lengthy personal history in wrestling and coaching, and is excited to see what this group of Pueblo West athletes will bring to the table this year.
With wrestling such a popular sport in Colorado and in Pueblo, he knows it’s easy to get people excited about it.
“I owe it to the sport to promote it, because has been so great to me,” Schumann said.
“I hope wrestling teaches kids a lot of discipline and shows them some sacrifice.
“Sure, it might be fun to go out with your friends on Friday, but maybe it’s better to go out for a run to be in shape for the Saturday morning weigh-in.
“A lot of people I meet in different professions say they would hire former wrestlers because they know they work hard and can be trusted.
“It’s a great sport.
“Sure, I want to train everyone to make it to state and place – that’s always the goal – and when you can have a guys that exceed their (expectations), that’s really good.”
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