Optimism is in the air in the Cody wrestling room this year, as the Broncs return a strong core and are loaded with experience from top to bottom.
“They look fantastic,” senior Dan Beaudrie said. “I think we have a very legitimate chance to be top three at state as a team.”
Twenty six are out for the team this season and so far coach Trev Wood has been pleased with what he’s seen.
“They’re locked in and taking care of business,” Wood said. “They’re a super positive crew. They work hard and have fun.”
The group has experience on its side, as only one is wrestling for the first time.
“It makes practice go faster because we don’t have to spend as much time on the basics,” Wood said.
The Broncs return four of their six state placers from last year. They will be paced by Beaudrie, who won a state title last season at 152 pounds. Even though he’s moving up a weight class this season, he’s confident about his chances of earning a second state championship.
“I know me and know what I can do,” he said. “I do it with confidence every day in practice.”
Senior Eric Flores was Cody’s next highest state finisher, placing third.
“This year I expect to try to get better every day,” he said. “The goal is to win state, but right now I just want to get better.”
Senior Jon Sanchez finished fourth at state and junior Josh Jones took sixth. Jones is bumping up three weight classes this year.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a new experience, but I’m a little nervous because it’s different. The lighter guys are quicker and the bigger guys are stronger.”
Others back with some varsity experience are Liam O’Hara, Orin Oilar, Nathan Hunt, Ira Mickelson and Maddox Stinson. And returning from injuries last season are Zain Fitzgerald and Drew Morris.
“They’re tough kids and know how to wrestle,” Wood said.
Unlike past years where the wrestlers were clustered in the same weight categories, the Broncs are spread more evenly and currently fill every class but 195 pounds.
“We have a lot of depth in our weights,” Flores said. “We have three or four filling most weights. I’m excited for duals. It sucked when we’d lose 12-18 points because of open weights so to have them filled is exciting.”
More wrestlers also means more talent throughout the lineup.
“During practice we had a competition and lined up in weight classes smallest to biggest,” Beaudrie said. “If you win you stay in. It was a battle every time. They got after it and looked good.”
Cody opens the season this weekend at the Powell Invite. Jones said the team is looking forward to wrestling real opponents.
“It’s a learning experience,” he said. “You get familiar with live matches and there’s no pressure. It gives you a chance to practice areas you’re not as good at.”
Wood expects the team to get after it right away.
“Since we know what we’re doing, when the whistle blows I want us to get the first takedown,” Wood said. “No waiting. We want to score right away.”