Despite his claims of being a less than eloquent speaker, STC varsity wrestling coach Nate Van Dyke's words come through with visible passion when speaking about his team and the sport of wrestling. The hard work and dedication of the entire STC wrestling program were rewarded at the annual wrestling banquet on Sunday March 9. Wrestlers of all ages were invited to celebrate and reminisce on another season with their family, friends, coaches and teammates.
Van Dyke spoke about the family environment that wrestling creates and it was evident from the vibe around the room.
To be a wrestler one has to be disciplined, self-reliant and health minded. As Coach Van Dyke stated at the banquet, "Wrestling is different from other sports, it consumes your whole life.
Front Row (L-R) managers: Alana Vest, Elysiana Gonzalez, Hailey Shoppe, and Shalene Lacina Second Row (L-R) Charlie Kaufman, Adrian Castanon, Andrew Peters, Kyle Llewelyn, Lansin Lacina, Dylan Kalinay, Jaret Probasco; Third Row (L-R) Dillon Graves, Jose Alcazar, Hunter Filloon, Bryce Ellenbecker, Kolbie Clark, Bailey Chyma, Garrett Hoskey and Brandyn Jensen. Back Row (L-R) Angel Escarzaga, Elias Garcia, Nathan Weiss, Trent Gaines, Dylan Cronk, Jake Thiessen, Kolton Smith and Dalton Vest
Van Dyke spoke briefly about the STC coaching staff, who Van Dyke referred to as "home grown." Most if not all of the STC wrestling coaching staff went through STC's wrestling program themselves. Van Dyke referred to coach Scott Bolen (a two time state qualifier himself) as a "great character guy who still has it on the mat." Bolen works with the weight groups 170 and up. Coach Brett Karkosh who Van Dyke said is a very hard worker and cares a lot about the kids works with 136-160. Van Dyke also credited volunteer coach Dale Cruikshank, who has graciously been coaching for as long as anyone can remember. Van Dyke stated that Cruikshank is good with the mental aspect of the sport. Steve Chyma coaches at the middle school and according to Van Dyke is "super passionate about the sport and gets pretty vocal during matches!"
Individual awards were presented by the coaching staff.
Most Improved: Jensen
Most Valuable: Smith and Vest
Captain: Vest, Thiessen and Smith
All-Conference: Llewellyn and Chyma
All-Academic: Smith, Thiessen, Kalinay
Ironman: Probasco, L. Lacina, Chyma, Graves, Kaufman, Llewellyn, and Kalinay
Letter Winners: Chyma, Clark, Ellenbecker, Filloon, Hoskey, Jensen, Kalinay, Lacina, Llwellyn, Peters, Probasco, Smith, Thiessen and Vest
Participation: Cronk, Banes, Castanon, Stein, Bogue, Weiss, Kucera, Alcazar, Garcia, Dostal, Escarzaga, Kaufman, and Graves
Van Dyke stated the team started off their season with a lot of inexperience. There were four second year wrestlers as well as an occasional freshman in the starting lineup. A highlight of the season was the team's win over AGWSR which was only AGWSR's second loss of the season. Van Dyke's ultimate goal for the Trojan wrestlers is to advance to state, saying "We want to peak for sectionals, districts and state." This season two wrestlers (Kolton Smith and Dalton Vest) made it through for a chance to hit the podium. While they did not quite make their goal, the chance to wrestle at State is a true experience.
In the off season Van Dyke wants to see the kids continue with the hard work they showed during the regular season. There are several opportunities for the wrestlers to keep their skills fresh. "Mat time, mat time, mat time. It's all about mat time," said Van Dyke. In closing Van Dyke reiterated his goal of getting kids to state, and said "We have a long history and it's a good history."