Soroco wrestling promotes mental toughness
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — From the stands, the grueling sight of seeing two athletes bend and twist each other for six minutes can be unnerving.
It’s also somewhat thrilling — if you’re the one who cheers for the athlete whose hand is raised in the air at the end of the dual.
Wrestling is one of the most physically demanding individual sports, but the toughness needed to compete extends beyond the physicality on the mat.
That’s what Soroco High School head wrestling coach Jay Whaley is trying to address.
“One of the things that we’ve hit is the mental preparations side of things,” Whaley said. “We really talked about that every week, not just what happens in the room with the coaches.”
This year, each wrestler has a notebook that he can use to journal throughout the season. Week by week, Whaley encourages his athletes to write down things to think about.
“For me, it’s just staying in the moment,” Soroco senior Jace Logan said. “That’s all that matters.”
Logan, who will make his season debut this weekend at the dual and tournament, returns as a three-time state runner-up. He’s trying to take home a state championship this year.
“Part of your mental preparation is making sure your gear is packed, lunch is ready,” Whaley said. “We spend 30 seconds talking about something at the end of practice, and then the kids can reflect on it if they so choose.”
Each athlete also has written their goals and hung them in the wrestling room, so they can see it every day.
“They can come walk over and take a peek of their goal,” Whaley said. “We’re not just teaching technique, just the stuff that will make them successful. Soroco wrestling takes boys and turns them into men.”
The Rams boast 12 wrestlers on their roster, and nine went to the tournament in Middle Park last weekend. The team put together a 4th place overall performance, including a bracket win by junior Gene Bracegirdle, 132, and a runner-up finish by sophomore Cutter Wiggins, 220, who transferred from Steamboat Springs this year.
Sophomore Michael Boleng, 138, and senior Jesse Amrein, 182, took home third-place finishes. Senior Kane Williams and freshman Chris Ramos claimed fourth in their weight classes.
This weekend, the Rams host a dual meet with Saratoga, Wyoming, Rangely and Hayden on Friday and a tournament welcoming Battle Mountain, Hayden, Middle Park, Rangely, Saratoga and West Grand. But the excitement leading into two home competitions is unmatched. Amrein is hoping it fuels him toward a successful season.
“A lot of time we go to really far away places,” Amrein said. “So, a lot of people can’t make it that far. It’s a chance for them to see us.”
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