Upbeat Tigerhawks ready for more
If you look at just the win-loss record in dual matches last year, the Colfax-Mingo wrestling team had a rough season.
The Tigerhawks are coming off a 3-28 campaign in such contests a year ago, but they certainly don't have the look or aura of a downtrodden team about them.
Not with returning nearly its entire varsity, including two state qualifiers.
Both factors and a great attitude about the team have Colfax-Mingo feeling good about its upcoming season, which begins Thursday in Ogden.
"This is a more cohesive start for us than the last few years I've seen," said head coach Bryan Poulter, who's also the athletic director and softball coach. "We don't seem to have any inter-fighting going on. We have people that want to be here."
A big reason for that cohesiveness is all the familiar faces on this year's squad. The majority of last year's varsity returns, as it lost only one senior to graduation. Six wrestlers who took fourth or better at sectionals are back.
"It's a more optimistic feeling than the last couple years," Poulter said. "We have a little experience now. Many of the kids that had a tough year, I've seen an attitude that they want to fix it. It's an optimistic attitude."
Highlighting the returnees are a couple of state qualifiers in senior Dylan Albright and sophomore Jimmy Abell. Both won sectional titles last season. Albright finished with a 36-9 record at 170 pounds, while Abell went 23-4 at 106 — becoming the first Colfax-Mingo freshman to make it to state in the 27-year history of the school's co-op. Both wrestlers had early exits from Wells Fargo Arena, going 0-2 at state.
Poulter said both Albright and Abell are determined to get back to state and improve there, and that it's rubbed off on their teammates as well.
"I'm pretty sure both felt they would have liked to have done better at the state tournament," he said. "They have that hunger to get back and do better. I think they've both picked up the elements of what it takes to get to that next level. That passes on to others in the room. They see these people they practice with every day get there and they think, 'I can do that too.' It's an inspiration to the rest."
Some of the Tigerhawks other returning wrestlers to watch are: junior Brandon Byal, who went 12-15 at 285 last year and took third at regionals; senior Chad McClain, who went 11-15 at 160 and took fourth at regionals; sophomore Chris Warner, who went 10-12 at 220 and senior Jayell Woods, who went 9-14 at 126.
"We're lucky in that our numbers aren't huge, but they're fairly spread out," Poulter said of his roster breakdown. "I think we'll fill 11-12 weights and be competitive."
The most weight classes Colfax-Mingo filled out of the 14 at any point last season was 10.