Entering the 2013-14 season, the Montezuma-Cortez High School wrestling team has a new head coach and some new wrestlers.
Do not expect much change for one of M-CHS’s most successful athletic programs, however.
Leading what appears, on paper, to be a talented team will be former Panthers’ assistant coach Shad Bellmire, a talented technician with a no-excuses attitude.
Former Panthers’ wrestling standouts Casey Lynn and Ryan Daves will assist Bellmire this season.
“We emphasize being tough,” explained Bellmire of his coaching style. “We want everyone to bring their best everyday, no excuses.”
Highlighting the roster will be returning state qualifiers Justice Ramos, Seager Oliver and Levi Gross.
Ramos, a junior who plans to wrestle in the 145-pound division, hopes that an offseason spent running and lifting will pay off.
“My goal is to make it to state again,” said Ramos.
Oliver, a junior in the 170-pound division, has even higher hopes.
“My goal is to win state,” said Oliver. “It’s key to train in the offseason and lift weights so you can stay in shape. I’ve done that.”
Rounding out the Panthers junior trio is 132-pound wrestler Levi Gross, who hopes that an added year of maturity will translate into a better mental approach on the mat.
“It’s all about mindset,” said Gross. “You have to know that you are going to win. I’m going to try to place at state this year.”
Combining with the Panthers’ returning state qualifiers will be 126-pound freshman Josh Ramos and 106-pound freshman Celestino Fernandez.
“They can get (to state) with some hard work,” said Bellmire of his freshman.
As for an overall team goal, Bellmire explained that the sky is the limit for the Panthers.
“A team goal would be to go to state and place in team points,” said Bellmire.
Before the state tournament however, the Panthers will traverse through a schedule that includes tough league matchups and the notoriously difficult Warrior Classic in Grand Junction on Dec. 20.
You can see the Panthers at the Southwest League Duels in Cortez on Feb. 8.