Senior group a unique one for PCHS wrestling
Three seniors helped improve small program
Senior Night for Park City High School sports teams can be time consuming. Between reading bios on each team’s respective seniors and presenting gifts to the soon-to-be graduates there with their family, these nights have a theatrical theme to them.
For the PCHS wrestling team, however, that wasn’t the case. With only three seniors — technically only two, with a junior graduating early — on the roster, Head Coach Tony Pelegrin didn’t have to delay the team’s match with Grantsville on Thursday evening all that much (Grantsville won the meet due to combination of match wins and forfeits from PCHS).
But that doesn’t mean these three departing wrestlers — Jack Norman, Jacob Pelegrin (Pelegrin’s son) and Kaitin Wells (the lone female on the team and a junior graduating early) — haven’t made their mark on the small program.
“[The seniors] can help work with kids and you don’t have to coach them as much when they’re on the mat,” Pelegrin said. “They see the moves on their own. They’re not lost.”
That’s especially the case for Norman and Jacob Pelegrin, who in addition to being named this season’s co-captains, have been in the program for three and four years, respectively.
After experiencing a ton of turnover due to graduation, Pelegrin found himself in a situation where half his roster consisted of not only underclassmen, but first-year wrestlers. For anyone who has ever participated in it, wrestling is not a sport for the average person to just walk off the street and pick up easily.
This is where the seniors came into play.
At the risk of losing out on time to hone their own skills and develop themselves, Norman and Jacob Pelegrin have been instrumental in helping some of the newer wrestlers get acclimated to the sport.
“It comes at a price because the more that they teach, the less that they are practicing on their own to the level of what they need,” Pelegrin said. “The good thing about a small team is they tend to bond. They tend to be fairly close. The problem with a small team is unless your numbers really come out the way you need them to, it’s harder for them.
“It’s great for the kids underneath them, but not so good for them,” Pelegrin said.
The third departing wrestler, Wells, is the only female wrestler on the team. She came into this program as a relative novice last season, but will leave as one of the more influential wrestlers currently on the roster. She’s gone from getting nervous to simply compete against her male counterparts in her first season to besting some of them and becoming confident when she steps on the mat in year two.
Being the only female in a male-dominated sport has its challenges, but the PCHS squad wouldn’t be the same without Wells.
“[The male wrestlers] definitely need to be respectful, but they should be protective of the girls that are on their team, just like if it was their sister or something,” Pelegrin said. “It’s a little bit of a different dynamic than if you had all guys on your team, but I think it has actually helped the team bond. I don’t want to say closer, but just in a different way than they would have done before.”
Next up for the Miners is the 3A North Divisional Championships, which will be held on Feb. 3-4. With the event still being two weeks away, the team won’t be learning much in that time period, but rather just touch up on everything they already know.
“The only thing we’re going to be doing is going to practice and wrestling live, for the most part, for the whole practice to build up more muscle memory, but to also get our conditioning back,” Pelegrin said. “Mostly just fine tuning [everything]. At this point, there’s nothing new I’m going to teach them really.”
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