An estimated 250 wrestlers from three states took the opportunity last weekend to wrestle at the Paonia Summer Duals. While the number was down, those who showed up are likely to see their efforts rewarded this winter when the 82nd annual Colorado High School wrestling season opens.
The summer duals are among several opportunities local wrestlers have to hone their skills, see wrestlers and wrestling techniques and styles they might not otherwise see, and to gain valuable experience.
Delta head coach Clayton Curtis said the ones who don't take the opportunity to wrestle during the summer are generally less likely to win during the winter wrestling season. "It's missed opportunities," said Curtis, a three-time state champion from Alamosa. "The kids that do well are the ones who took the opportunity this summer."
Most of next year's wrestlers from Delta were coming off of a football camp and are heading to the Adams State technique camp later this month, said Curtis. But he came to the duals to coach junior Colby Wilson, who spent the weekend wrestling for Paonia.
Sophomore Tracer Hall represented Hotchkiss at this year's duals. As a freshman he placed fifth at state.
"It's a good experience for kids who want to improve," said Curtis. Last summer, Logan Church wrestled every chance he could and went undefeated last year to win the Class 3A heavyweight title. Church signed to wrestle for Western State in Gunnison.
Curtis recalled a wrestler who was 0-35 his freshman year. That summer took every opportunity to wrestle, and while he didn't win a single match, the next season won 20 matches. "You get your losing done during the summer," said Curtis.