The inability to translate raw talent into success on the mats has been a common theme for the Colorado State club wrestling team. The Rams welcomed their in-state rival from CU for a brief four-match meet Wednesday. Despite close matches, the Buffs came out on top in every match.
“I don’t know if they’ve bridged the gap to take what they are doing in practice onto the mat,” CSU head coach Kendall DeJonge said.
National qualifier and soon-to-be president of the wrestling club, Mike Brumgard, did not compete in the meet. Instead, three freshmen and a sophomore were given the green light for the Rams. Coach DeJonge finds it key to his team’s future for his young wrestlers to gain experience as underclassmen.
“Hopefully we will still have all these guys out here three years from now,” DeJonge said. “And by that point obviously we’ll be a lot better than we are now.”
Though he was a sophomore amongst Freshman, Jaysen Yakobson was actually the least collegiately experienced CSU wrestler heading into the meet. He had not wrestled for two years before deciding to join CSU.
“I wanted to get back into something that was a big part of my life,” Yakobson said.
Yakobson matched up against childhood friend Tel Kelley. They grew up wrestling together, and were teammates on team Colorado. Yakobson knew the type of wrestler Kelley was prior to their match, but their differences in weight ended up being crucial to Kelley’s win.
“He got the better match,” Yakobson said. “It wasn’t much of a competition today, unfortunately.”
Freshman wrestler Ben Peterson entered today with some good experience under his belt. Peterson wrestled some top tier Air Force Prep athletes in a competitive field at the Colorado School of Mines just two weeks ago.
“That was a really tough tournament,” Peterson said. “There were some D-I redshirts and D-II alternates.”
Peterson was not able to use this to get over the hump and collect a win Wednesday though. However, he may get a shot at redemption in just ten days when CSU hosts the Great Plains Conference Tournament. The meet against the Buffs will motivate him in practice during the meantime.
“Go to practice, go hard, work on taking good shots and being tougher on my feet,” Peterson said.
Similar struggles were experienced by freshmen Luke Engler and Blaine Larson.
“Had my offense shut down the whole time,” Larson said. “I couldn’t do much.”
The Rams will be able to hold four practices before their upcoming home meet. The future may be bright for the Rams, but right now, there are still a lot of unknowns.
“We’re still trying to figure out exactly where everyone is,” DeJonge said. “We’re still a pretty young team.”
The CSU club wrestling team will host the Great Plains Conference Tournament Saturday, Feb. 27 at the South College Fieldhouse. CSU, CU-Boulder, Wayne State, Winona State, Iowa State, Iowa, and Air Force Prep.
Collegian Sports Reporter Eddie Herz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.