Young PCHS wrestling team aims for improvement in 2017 | ParkRecord.com

Young PCHS wrestling team aims for improvement in 2017

Miners to compete in Braveheart Duals Tournament on Saturday

Jack Norman wrestles in the 132-pound weight class during the Grantsville Cowboy Tournament, where he went undefeated. Norman is a senior and one of the two Co-Captains for this year.

Tony Pelegrin, Park City High School's head wrestling coach, knew his team roster didn't have the most experienced athletes heading into the 2016-17 season.

Now working with a handful of freshmen and first-year wrestlers, the coach organized a schedule that coordinates with the amount of experience the team has, which is why the Miners will head to the Braveheart Duals Tournament this weekend.

While the tournament is considered a varsity one, the competition at Ben Lomond High School will be without some of the bigger schools and names in the state in terms of wrestling success. Pelegrin believes it will be a good tournament for the newer wrestlers on the team.

"I've set this up so that when they go into tournaments, they have the ability to compete," Pelegrin said. "It's kind of mixed like our team is. You get a number of first-year kids, kids that are more JV type. Then, you'll also get some varsity kids — not top of the line varsity — but are usually a strong match.

"That helps our kids when they're not getting overpowered and it gives some of our kids that have wrestled a number of years someone challenging to go up against."

It's not that Pelegrin doesn't have confidence in his athletes. Many of the first timers have improved significantly throughout the season, but as a smaller program at PCHS, there are other schools that boast wrestlers who have been involved in the sport for years.

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Of course, the main reason of any tournament is to get on the mat. But to take his team to a tournament that is chalk full of experience might leave a lasting effect on the newer athletes' outlook toward the sport.

"That's exactly what I kind of scheduled the season for: try to get the kids as much mat time as possible," Pelegrin said. "Because the mat time is what's going to make them better. If they go out to a tournament where they just get killed, especially for the first year, it kind of puts a downer on their season and a downer on the idea if they like wrestling or not."

The Miners hope one of their better wrestlers will return and compete this weekend in Jack Norman, a senior and Co-Captain of the Varsity squad.

Norman has battled allergy sickness for much of the competition in December, even sitting out for the Clash of the Titans. He gave it a go at the Desert Storm Invitational Tournament in St. George, but after winning his first two matches, he was forced to forfeit, again, due to illness.

Before that, though, Norman was having a successful senior campaign, which included a first-place finish at the Grantsville Cowboy Tournament. Pelegrin expects him to return to his normal self this weekend.

"I fully intend him to place first or second in the tournament we have this weekend," Pelegrin said.

While Norman will return, Park City will be without one of its other top wrestlers in James Shagen, who is in Hawaii over the weekend. But, Pelegrin hopes that some of the beginning athletes on his team will be able to pick up the slack and continue their improvement.

One of those is Paul Baynes. The freshman wrestles in the 132-pound weight class and most recently claimed a fourth-place finish at the Desert Storm Invitational, which consisted of 32 teams from Utah, California, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Pelegrin envisions a bright future for Baynes if he continues to improve.

"He's a new wrestler, who is wrestling really well," Pellegrin said. "He's good athlete. If he sticks with it, he'll have a good wrestling career."

The Braveheart Duals Tournament will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Ben Lomond High School.

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