Wrestlers start season with new talent and some weight gaps
The Park City High School wrestling team is looking similar to last season’s squad, said coach Tony Pelegrin.
With about 15 wrestlers, many of whom are new to the sport, he said he expects three or four athletes to reach the state championships.
The team’s experience is spread out across the grades, with junior 145-pounder Jake Deleo leading the team as its longest-serving member, and freshmen Jared Miller and Stone Combs looking to make waves in their first season with the team, though both have prior experience.
“I’m hoping to get a couple kids to state and once we get to state, see where we’re at,” Pelegrin said. “I would like to think the season is as fun as possible, but you want to win. Winning’s more fun than not winning.”
Senior Chris Mora-Rubio, a 132-pound wrestler, said Miller, who has 10 years of wrestling experience, will be one of the team’s most successful wrestlers this season.
“He’s setting the pace really well,” Mora-Rubio said. “I can’t wait to see him come back and kick butt when he’s a senior.”
Pelegrin said the team, along with being few in number, has a lot of wrestlers in overlapping weights.
“Like always, we’re kind of heavy in a couple of weight classes, which isn’t unusual for a wrestling team,” he said. “But the problem is we only have 15 people, so we only have two (wrestlers per weight), and it leaves a lot of empty weights.”
The team is missing weights at 120, 138, 195, and either 220 or 285, depending on where one wrestler competes.
Kayla Pelegrin, the self-described “team mom” and Tony Pelegrin’s wife, said wrestlers like Mora-Rubio are helping to solve that problem by building the team. This year, Mora-Rubio recruited three new wrestlers and was a positive influence in Pelegrin’s decision to keep coaching.
“Chris is a kid that we really tried to target in wrestling,” Kayla said, standing next to Mora-Rubio in the wrestling room. “He’s dedicated, really trying to take himself to the next level, not just in wrestling but in life. He’s got aspirations to be a nurse practitioner.”
“You’re making me blush,” Mora-Rubio said.
Kayla said the senior shows great leadership on the team and takes the sport seriously, even if he doesn’t have aspirations of wrestling competitively once he graduates to attend the University of Utah.
She added that Mora-Rubio has been part of a new influx of athletes to the team.
“When my son started wrestling, (Tony) only had 8 kids on the team, and I think only two with previous wrestling experience and (my son) was one of them,” Kayla said. “We had a couple of years that were a little rougher, but the last couple years, I’d say three years, we’ve really picked up some really good athletes and kids who are dedicated to the sport, even if they are not getting it to become state placers.”
She said this year’s team is continuing that tradition, as she and Tony slowly try and grow the team, with help from students like Mora-Rubio.
The wrestlers start their season with a tournament at Grantsville on Dec. 1.
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