To combat the travel costs that accrue throughout a season, the Colorado State club wrestling team is holding a series of fundraisers to prepare for the 2017 season.
The first event was held at Pour Brothers Community Tavern in Old Town last Wednesday, Sept. 20. Head coach Kendall DeJonge served as a guest bar tender for the event as friends, family, alumni and fans showed their support. The team will also hold three additional events, the first coming on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Chipotle. The second event will be held at Illegal Pete’s on Oct. 17. The Rams will conclude their fundraising events with a youth wrestling tournament for kids in kindergarten to eighth grade on Saturday, Oct. 29. Registration for the tournament is open now and can be found on the wrestling team’s Facebook page.
These events lead up to the kickoff of the 2017-18 season on Thursday, Nov. 2 as the Rams take on Air Force Prep Academy. This will be a good early test for the Rams as they are pitted against a team that consistently sends many wrestlers to national tournaments, said coach DeJonge. After sending six wrestlers to nationals in Texas last season, the season cannot start soon enough for the Rams.
“I’m a little nervous but that’s just because it’s still preseason,” sophomore Colin Saiz said. “But once I get into the first match I know that will go away.”
Several of the Rams dealt with injuries in the 2016-17 season. Saiz missed the first half of the season with a knee injury but battled through and was able to qualify for nationals as a freshman. Saiz says that his knee feels back to normal and expects to stay healthy this season.
The season will continue to ramp up for the Rams as they host their annual CSU Invitational with teams coming in from all over the country, including BYU, Arizona and Texas Tech. The competition figures to be fierce as many national qualifiers will participate in the tournament.
Having graduated some key seniors from last year, the Rams boast a youthful roster. The first match of the season will allow several freshmen to get their first taste of college wrestling, and DeJonge is excited about the prospects of growing and developing a young team.
“We have a great group of freshmen coming onto the team this year,” DeJonge said. “They are going to be able to help us compete at a high level.”
Of the plethora of freshmen on the team, Santana Salas has proven his worth. The freshman has shown maturity and ability to wrestle smart in the first practices of the year, according to DeJonge.
After a busy first week of the season at home, the Rams will begin traveling to tournaments across the country. Greeley, Colo., Las Vegas, Nev. and Provo, Utah will all host the Rams in the 2017-18 season. They will wrap up the season on Feb. 24 with the NCWA Great Plains Conference Tournament and an opportunity to earn a spot in the National Championships in Allen, Texas.
Wrestling will start at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 and 9 a.m. on Nov. 4. Both events will be held in the South College Gym. To field a full dual squad, the wrestling team is still looking for wrestlers to join the team. For more information, please contact head coach Kendall DeJonge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collegian sports reporter Tyler Johnson can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @TylerGjohnson20.