This season, the Rock Creek wrestling team showed great growth, sending nine members of the squad to regionals on Feb. 19-20 and sending senior AJ Burenheide on to state on Feb. 26-27.
“We had a pretty good year,” head coach Dan Pray said. “There was a lot of improvement everywhere, and I am really proud of the team.”
The Mustangs lived up to expectations from last year after sending two wrestlers to state, and this year, the performance by Burenheide at state. During the state competition, Burenheide had done well in many of the duals such as the 7-1 win against Conrad Vajnar from Hays High School and the 11-3 win against Ethan Temple of Baldwin High School, but eventually lost to a defending state champion before he made it to the final match.
“I feel like I left a bit out there on the mat, but it was still a good run,” Burenheide said.
Burenheide had worked hard on the mat this year and was able to place at multiple tournaments. While at the Wamego tournament, Burenheide took first and gave a preview about what he could do for the rest of the season.
“The regular season was pretty good,” Burenheide said. “I was able to get a lot of wins against some tough wrestlers and show my strength.”
Junior Shad Winn said that he felt that he had an admirable performance at regionals, as he got a win against Tristain Neff of Wamego. Unfortunately for Winn, he lost in the quarterfinal match at regionals to Kevin Wilson of Abilene. He hopes to use this to get ready for his senior season.
“I think that I was able to do okay,” Winn said. “I think that I can be a lot better next year, though.”
Senior Dallas Nold said he felt as if he and the team did well this season and found some areas that he could make improvements on in the regular season to prepare for regionals, but he was not able to win at regionals. He was able to extend both rounds by a large amount of time, though, with each lasting over four minutes.
“I was able to work on my technique before regionals, and I think that helped me out quite a bit,” Nold said. “It was able to help me stay alive in my rounds.”
It is needless to say that Rock Creek will be looking more state competitors next year and will hope to capitalize on this year’s efforts.
“I hope that we can take state next year, and if I work hard, I think that I can have a good chance to win,” Winn said.
Article by Joe Chalfant, staff member
Photo by Jayden Weers, yearbook copy editor