Older, more experienced Highland wrestlers look for continued improvement
Dec 11, 2019 14h56
By Josh McFadden
Highland’s Paul Clark placed fourth in the 182-pound class in last season’s Class 5A state wrestling tournament. (Photo courtesy of Ted Sierer)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
With more upperclassmen and more collective varsity matches under their belts, the Highland Rams could be a different squad on the wrestling mat this season.
Last year, the Rams had their ups and downs with a youthful squad. This season, head coach Ted Sierer is expecting big things from his team, possibly a Region 6 championship.
“My expectations for the team are to build on the accomplishments of last season,” Sierer said. “We were a young and mostly inexperienced team last year. We took some lumps, but we definitely got better as the season went on and were a better team at the end of the season than we were at the beginning. I want us to continue to build on those improvements. Overall, we should contend for a region title. I feel that is a very obtainable goal for this set of kids.”
Sierer has two accomplished competitors to lead the group. His son, 106-pounder Colin Sierer, and 195-pound wrestler Paul Clark, both placed at state a year ago. Colin Sierer took third in his weight group in the Class 5A state tournament, while Clark was fourth at 182 pounds. Both are seniors.
Joining these top competitors are juniors Josh Berg (138 pounds) and Paris Hawkins (145 pounds). Sierer expects both wrestlers to emerge as leaders and compete well all season. The Rams’ coach knows how important it is for these team members, and others, to lead by example and set the pace.
“In order to achieve our goals, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to get better,” Sierer said. “Overall, we need to get strong leadership from our seniors. We have a great set of seniors who have put a lot of time and effort into the program. These boys need to fill leadership roles and take the others with them as they achieve their goals. Our younger boys need to work harder than they ever have. Each one of us needs to be willing to do hard things.”
So far, in preseason workouts and practices, Sierer has been impressed by the team’s work ethic and the culture the athletes have established. He also believes the team will excel under pressure situations.
“I feel our strength as a team centers on our abilities to adapt to various situations and overcome obstacles,” he said. “These boys aren't afraid to put themselves into the spotlight and carry their teammates on their shoulders. Overall, this team is a family. They genuinely care about each other and find joy being with each other. I feel this allows each boy to feel he has a home.”
Sierer knows the regular season will be a grind, with some talented foes to face. He said it’s critical to find the right weight class for each wrestler so that when the Rams come up against these opponents, they have a competitor ready to go in each match.
Highland opened practice Nov. 11 and starts the season Dec. 3 at home against Cottonwood.