The Colorado State club wrestling team will host the Great Plains Conference championships next week with the hopes of bringing home a team championship while qualifying as many wrestlers as possible to next month’s national tournament.
With the season coming to a close, head wrestling coach Kendall DeJonge knows that managing his wrestlers is his top priority.
“Right now we are focused on keeping conditioning up and trying to peak at the right time of the season because this could be the end for a lot of these guys,” Dejonge said.
With the tournament right around the corner, DeJonge must make the final adjustments necessary in order for his team to be successful.
The Rams’ season has been one racked with injury. Numerous wrestlers had to miss significant time.
“We’ve had several wrestlers experience season and even career ending injuries this season, which you always hate to see,” DeJonge said.
Even with injuries, the season has not been short of standout performances. The Rams have built a core of middleweight wrestlers that are providing leadership for the team.
It all starts with senior and club president Mike Brungardt, who will attempt to make it to nationals for the third time during his college career. Along with Brungardt, freshman Taylor Dawal and sophomore Ben Peterson have helped the Rams establish themselves in the competitive Great Plains Conference.
The boys are not the only ones contributing to the Rams. Freshman Kendal Davis and sophomore Kamele Sanchez, a returning All-American, have both put together impressive seasons.
“They’re both fantastic wrestlers,” DeJonge said. “They wrestled at a tournament a couple weeks ago and they only lost one match between the two of them.”
Both Sanchez and Davis will be automatic qualifiers for the national tournament next month.
“We are going to try and qualify as many wrestlers to nationals as we can and have them get deep into the playoffs,” DeJonge said about the team’s goals for the rest of the year. “This is my fourth year coaching and we haven’t had any men’s all American, we’re close, but that’s always a goal for me to get them to that level.”
The Great Plains Conference Conference championship will take place Saturday at the South College gym 9 a.m. Those who qualify for nationals will wrestle March 9, in Allen, Texas on
Tyler Johnson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TylerGJohnson20