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Sugar House Journal

Improved Highland wrestlers continue to make progress

Jan 29, 2019 16h37 ● By Josh Mc Fadden

Highland’s Jonah Gaye fights for positioning in a meet earlier this season. (Photo courtesy of Ted Sierer)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

In sports, many people measure success by wins and losses. But these results don’t always tell the full story.

In the case of the Highland High School wrestling teams, there have been some ups and downs, but head coach Ted Sierer likes the effort his competitors have given and has enjoyed seeing his athletes learn and develop skills and compete against some talented foes on the mat.

The Rams have some inexperienced underclassmen on the squad, but these wrestlers and their teammates continue to approach each practice and match with optimism and desire.

“So far, the season has gone fairly well,” Sierer said. “Being a young team, we are not winning every match and tournament, but we are getting better every time we step on the mat. I am seeing improvement with each wrestler every time he wrestles. This is what I was hoping for. I knew going into the season that most of my wrestlers were going to face a pretty steep learning curve. I have been excited to see that this learning curve has not intimidated or discouraged them. They understand the season is long and is a learning process.”

Despite many new faces, the Rams are still not out of the hunt for a region title. Sierer wasn’t sure the team would be capable of contending in Region 6, due to the lack of proven experience. Still, the team defeated region favorite West earlier in the season and also competed well in a tournament in St. George.

“The boys have stepped up and are doing well in region matches,” Sierer said.

The coach’s son, Colin Sierer, along with another top wrestler, Paul Clark, have been the top two performers this season. Colin Sierer had a record of 33-2 as of Jan. 9 and went undefeated at the Juab Winter Classic. He also placed first at the Desert Storm Invitational in St. George. Clark won 28 of his first 35 matches and placed second in St. George. He also didn’t lose a single match at the Gallegos Memorial Duals. 

Ted Sierer also points out the improvement of wrestlers Josh Berg and Jonah Gaye, both of whom he said, “have been wrestling better than expected.” Berg, a sophomore, is in his first year of varsity competition.

“[Berg] has batted through some tough opponents and has been one of the most consistent wrestlers over the past month,” Ted Sierer said. “[Gaye] is a senior but is only a second year wrestler but has wrestled well. He is putting together moves and skills well. I see him improving with every match. I feel confident that both Josh and Jonah will be able to accomplish some great things by the end of the season if they continue working hard and continue to improve.”

Ted Sierer knows there’s still a long way to go and much work to do before the team can exceed its goals and be a factor in the postseason. He’s trying to help the boys wrestle with consistency and only worry about the task at hand.

“We need to continue to take the season one match and tournament at a time,” he said. “I am trying to keep the boys focused on the present. We can't change the past, and the future hasn’t happened yet and is therefore unknown. The only thing we can control is the present. We also need to remain focused on improving our individual skill sets. As we focus on executing our moves better and finding perfection in the way we do those skills, wins will take care of themselves. I want the boys to focus on themselves and not any external distractions.”

Ted Sierer is pleased with his athletes’ attitudes and desires to do their best. He’s hopeful that with this mindset, the Rams will be a difficult team for other squads to contend with at state. 

The Class 5A wrestling meet will take place Feb. 13 and 14 at Utah Valley University.