Herders focus on strength, ‘mental attitude’ before regionals

Zach Miners file photo

Senior Dustin Simmons grabs a hold of Keegan Meyer of Wheatland during the Herders’ home dual Feb. 2. The team has been focused on training for regionals over the past week.

Zach Miners, zach@glenrockind.com

The Herder wrestling squad, with their last match cancelled, has been razor focused on getting in shape for regionals and the state championship.


Every day this week, the team is working on conditioning and strength-building exercises to boost their endurance, as well as basic technique, head coach Kjell Elisson said.


By regionals, “we are going to be the best conditioned team on the mat,” he proclaimed.


The team will also be working on “mental attitude and the will to not lose,” Elisson said.


The Herders were scheduled to compete against Thermopolis at home Feb. 12, but the meet was cancelled due to missing wrestlers and the snowy, icy, sub-zero weather.


The Glenrock team would have been down roughly six wrestlers due to previous injuries. And, because the team is only allowed 16 events per season and Thermopolis would have been their 17th competition, they would have had to sit out additional wrestlers.


The team has fought its way through a rollercoaster of a season, punctuated by invigorating wins and disappointing losses.


The team, for instance, defeated the Lusk Tigers for the first time this season on Jan. 29, though on the same day they also lost to Shoshoni and Natrona County JV by a wide margin.


The already small squad has been continually disadvantaged in recent weeks due to injured absentee wrestlers.


The coronavirus pandemic has also presented its own challenges, with ever-shifting rules, guidelines and concerns.


Still, the squad has also risen to the occasion even while missing wrestlers, such as when they defeated Hulett on Jan. 15, despite missing roughly a half-dozen team members.


Since the outset of the season, Elisson has said that the team would be less focused on  individual wins or losses than longer term progress.


But it’s not all business for the squad. To relax and blow off some steam, Elisson and the Herders went bowling on the night they would have wrestled Thermopolis.


The team will host the southeast regional 2A qualifier with Hanna, Lingle Ft. Laramie, Niobrara County and Saratoga beginning at 10 a.m. Feb. 20.


The 2A state championship is scheduled for Feb. 25 at the Casper Events Center.


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