Talk to coaches and athletes involved in the Cody wrestling program this season and one word comes up again and again – experience.
Twenty-seven are out for the team this season and all but two have wrestled before. Cody graduated three seniors last year, but coach Trev Wood said the 11 incoming freshmen should help fill in those spots.
“This is the most experienced crew I’ve ever coached,” he said.
The Broncs have been focused on the fundamentals early on, but they don’t need to go over anything for too long, which means they’re much further along than usual.
“Things are going quickly, much quicker than past seasons,” Wood said.
Cody will be led by two-time state champ Charlie Beaudrie. In recent years the Broncs have had other two-time champions but Beaudrie, a senior, will be the first to be able to go for three.
Beaudrie won at 182 pounds his sophomore year and at 195 last season. He plans to wrestle at 182 again to start this season and said after being a defending champion last year he knows how to handle the pressure.
“I have experience and I know what it takes to win,” he said. “It will be the same going into the next one. I feel really confident.”
Also back is senior Zain Fitzgerald, who finished second at state as a sophomore and sixth last year at 138 pounds.
“Things have been going good,” he said. “We’re a really experienced team this year. The freshmen are more experienced too. They know what to do.”
Sophomore Brady Deming is Cody’s other returning state placer, finishing sixth at 132 pounds.
“After placing at state my confidence has gone up,” he said.
Other seniors returning for the Broncs include Jeff Williams, Jonas Mickelson, Matt Sandoval and Matt Stroble. Sophomores Drew Trotter, Jonny Williams and Danny Becker also did well last season, as did junior Keaton Stone.
“We’ll be competitive,” Wood said. “We’ll have to wait and see how some of the competition looks, but our goal is to stay healthy and injury free. If we can do that, we should do well.”
One thing Cody expects to be able to do right now is fill almost every weight class during duals, something it hasn’t done in a few years. If things remain the way they are now, the Broncs would only give up one weight class.
“I like duals because it’s one wrestler on the mat at a time,” Deming said. “Being able to fill most weights will help us a lot and hopefully we’ll get more wins.”
Cody opens at the Powell Invite this weekend. Wood said the tournament is a good way to start the season because it’s close to home and helps the team figure out what they need to work on.
“It give us a chance to work on what we need to work and see what we need to improve on,” Fitzgerald said.
The Broncs have one home dual Dec. 19 but will spend more of the first month and a half of the season at tournaments, including some in Montana.
“It helps because there’s tougher competition and better wrestling in Montana so you’re ready when you get back to Wyoming,” Beaudrie said.
The Broncs won’t be home again until right before the postseason. Then it will be on to regionals and state.
“I’m looking forward to state,” Deming said. “It’s nice to see all the hard work pay off and it’s a fun time.”