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Soroco faces low turnout

Coach says Rams that have come out are good athletes

Christine Metz

— Quality, not quantity, is what Soroco’s wrestling program will be selling this year.

With just eight Rams out for the team, Soroco does not have a lot of wrestlers, but the ones it does have are good, coach Doug Gates said.

“It’s a young team, a very young team. We have no seniors at all,” Gates said. “But they’re good-quality kids. I’m looking for a good season from them.”

But low numbers might be costly as Gates is facing a gaping hole between the 152-pound and heavyweight classes. The Rams are also looking at an empty 103-pound spot.

Those vacant six positions could be most noticeable for the team’s four dual and triangular meets.

“I am trying to recruit some kids,” Gates said.

“A lot of kids play basketball and are in different sports. Some play hockey and don’t want it to interfere with their hockey program.”

The Rams are also looking at another partially empty spot as Soroco’s top-place state finisher is out until January.

Junior Josh Iacovetto, who was a No. 3 state finisher at 103 pounds last year, will be out of the lineup with a stomach muscle tear.

Iacovetto, who just had surgery, will not be able to practice until after the new year, Gates said.

As a sophomore, Iacovetto finished with a 23-6 record, which ended with a 4-2 win over Tony Gallegos of Calhan for the state’s third place.

When Iacovetto returns, he is expected to move up from his 103-pound weight class to 112 lbs.

But Iacovetto is not the only state qualifier returning to this year’s team.

Three of this year’s five juniors went to the 2A tournament last year.

Brandon Ager, who wrestled at 119 pounds, has two years of state experience under his belt, and Cody Denning wrestled at 130 pounds in the tournament last year.

With Ager, Denning and freshman Whit Gates close to the 130-pound weight class, the lower-middleweights should be tough for Soroco.

Coach Gates said he is looking at Ager wrestling at 130 or 135 pounds, Denning at 125 or 130 pounds and Whit Gates at 130 pounds.

Whit Gates will not be the only fresh face on the team. Freshman Matt Iacovetto is also expected to wrestle at 119 pounds.

Juniors C.J. Horn will move up to the heavyweight spot after wrestling at 215 pounds last year and Tyson Gilleland is looking at the 140- or 152-pound weight class.

Gates said he is hoping to improve the state finish from last year, which had five Ram qualifiers. Two of those qualifiers graduated, Brandon Gilleland at 152 pounds and Tyler Knott at 160 pounds

“We had five qualifiers, I thought we’d place at least those at state. A couple of guys didn’t wrestle well at the right time. You get to state make mistakes and you lose,” he said.

“I’d like for us to place in the tournament. I think we are good. Our kids are awfully well-balanced.”

In league competition, Gates sees neighbor Hayden being tough once again as it returns seven of last year’s 10 state qualifiers.

He also said West Grand should be a mediocre team, while North Park is going through a rebuilding year.


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