Park City wrestling honors seniors |

Park City wrestling honors seniors

Wrestlers come from varying backgrounds

From left to right: Jimi Letchford, Cardon Hickman, coach Curt Futch, Grace Wagstaff, Logan Poulton and Lane Capps
David Jackson/Park Record

Park City High School’s wrestling team honored its seniors for its Wednesday night meet against Orem. 

“We seem like we’re constantly in rebuilding mode here a little bit with the wrestling program, but I think because of these seniors and because of the leadership, the numbers are bigger this year than they have been (and) the numbers of people that stayed,” Park City coach Curt Futch said. “We’ve had very little attrition, which is good. And I think that is a testament to the team and to the leadership within the team. It’s not the coaches doing that, it’s the other wrestlers that are holding themselves accountable and encouraging them to come to practice and compete.”

Park City’s senior class is a mix of returning wrestlers from last year and new wrestlers trying the sport this year. 

Jimi Letchford has been wrestling since he was 6 years old, and his experience has been helpful for Futch, who is in his first year as the head coach. At times, having Letchford around is like having another coach.

“It’s easier also for a kid to explain some stuff to kids sometimes,” Futch said. “Sometimes they learn better from coaches, sometimes they learn better from their peers. So, having someone with that level of experience that can be in the room, be a leader and also communicate some stuff that is better coming from their peers than their coach.”

The senior combines his love of wrestling with enjoying the friendships he’s made through the sport along the way.

“I love the grind, (at) Park City, I love the people,” Letchford said. “It’s something that I’ll never give up, like the traits that I’ve learned from wrestling. These friendships I’ve made at Park City wrestling, I’ll never forget.”

Letchford is hoping to place at the state meet this year. He missed out on competing at state last year after an injury, so this final season means even more to him.

“I’ve been working up to this since basically February of last year, where I didn’t qualify for state and just started working hard to get to the point where I am right now,” Letchford said. “I’m really excited to kind of see where that takes me.”

Fellow senior Logan Poulton was introduced to the sport last year through Letchford, who approached him when Poulton was heading to match class. Poulton dreaded wrestling his first year in the sport, but he’s become a much better wrestler this year. Instead of being stressed out the whole day before a meet, he’s excited about it.

“This year, I really appreciate how toughening it is,” Poulton said. “There’s no other sport that’s mentally or physically demanding as wrestling is. It stressed me out so bad and ultimately gave me so much confidence over doing it. Now, I just feel like everything else is easy now that I’ve done wrestling.”

Futch praised Poulton’s willingness to learn and listen, and he’s seen how much the senior has improved year over year.

“He listens really well, he learns really well, he’s got a great willingness and dedication, determination,” Futch said. “Just to see the progress he’s made in two short years is really impressive. This year, he’s stepped up. I wish we had him longer.”

Meanwhile, this is senior Cardon Hickman’s first year wrestling for the Miners. Similar to how Letchford approached Poulton, Poulton persuaded Hickman to give wrestling a try.

“Doing hard things, there’s always a sense of reward after and stuff like that,” Hickman said. “But also getting to hang out. I’ve gotten to know almost everybody on the team now. They’re all friends now.”

“If nothing else, I had a good time,” he added.

As Futch put it, there’s nowhere to hide in wrestling, which can make it difficult for athletes like Hickman who are new to the sport.

“It’s a hard sport, it’s a really hard sport and there’s nowhere to hide in this sport,” Futch said. “You’re front and center, and to do that as a senior and expose yourself to that and take that level of risk, that’s cool. That’s really cool to see.”

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