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Arvada West, Rocky Mountain, Ponderosa, Pomona, Cherry Creek and Pine Creek are considered to be this season's top Colorado Class 5A wrestling programs.
Chaparral coach Rodney Padilla argues another school belongs on that list.
“We belong with them, that's why we go to that tournament (state),” said Padilla. “We'll see. We'll find out what we're made of.”
Chaparral has six state qualifiers from last season back this year and the Wolverines are ranked seventh in the latest OnTheMat Class 5A rankings.
Padilla wrestled at Adams City in the mid 1970s when the school had one of the state's powerhouse wrestling programs.
“Don't wrestle names and faces, just wrestle,” said Padilla. “That's what I was taught as a kid. We're a young team, but experienced. We don't have a lot of seniors but we have good leadership. We have some tough seniors. We have a lot of kids coming back that have been downtown (at the Pepsi Center).”
The six Chaparral wrestlers who qualified for the 2013 state tournament are junior Frank Martinez, senior J.T. Stancil, senior Ben Trygstad, sophomore Aaron Trygstad, senior Jake Tarr and junior Dane Drimmer.
Drimmer, a heavyweight, finished third a year ago and is the No. 1 ranked 285-pounder according to the OnTheMat individual rankings. He won the individual title Nov. 18 at the Arvada West Invitational, a tournament that is regarded as the `mini' state tournament.
Stancil, a 132-pounder who notched a major decision win in a Chaparral's 56-18 dual meet victory over Legend on Jan. 16, was sixth as a freshman at 103 pounds as a sophomore and was one win from placing last season at 113 pounds.
“My goal this year is to be a state champion and I think the team is going to be right there in the state championship race too,” said Stancil. “The team is doing really well and if everyone keeps up the hard work in practice we can do some great things down the line.
“We're an underdog and that's a good thing. … It's a motivating factor. It's only going to help us. If people overlook us, that is what it is, but we're going to be ready when the time comes.”
Legend coach Nick Rider added that his school could be in the mix too in a couple years.
“Parker is a wrestling town,” said Rider. “When you are always talking about the top programs, you are talking about Ponderosa and Chaparral. Frankly, we're coming along. It's tough in our league. We're young but in a couple years we'll get things going. We've got young kids that are on the verge of kicking down a door.
“I don't have anybody that's going to bring the house down (right now) but I've got six or seven kids that are on the verge of getting to the next level.”
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