Bulldogs will be a ‘young, dangerous’ team
     2014-12-11      By Kay Grote    editor@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy Photo - Members of the 2014-2015 Gering wrestling team are front row from left, Luciano Palamo, Felipe Luna, Ricky Saenz, Julian Corona, Marcelino Ramos, Draven Steele, Fernando Delgado, Garret Allbaugh, Trayton Johnston. Middle row from left, Aaron Tovar, Jeff Evans, Fernando Delgado, Xaviar Arellano, Isaiah Billie, Zane Orsborn, Avery Billie, Kaetlyn Todd, Antonio Murillo, Jordan Oberlin. Back row from left, Devin Delos Santos, Andres Canales, Quitien Onstott, Weston Hutson, Camelo Ozuna, Wade Blue, Alex Clossen, Quentin Timblin, Christian Pester, Keegan Wurdaman. Not pictured are Cody Ybarra, Connor Grant, Brayden Tarr, Noah Vogel, Jaden Sharp, Christian Arellano, and Marc Aguilar. The team is coached by JJ Behrens with assistants Trevor Stamen, Willie Schwartzkopf and volunteer coach Jared Berger. 
With only three returning starters, Gering head wrestling coach JJ Behrens knows he is facing a rebuilding year. But it’s the type of rebuilding year that he is looking forward to, rich with young and hungry talent, many of which are products of the Gering Wrestling Club that has gained steam in recent years.

“We are going to be a very young and dangerous team,” Behrens said. “We have 20 freshman out, many of which have a chance to fill a varsity spot. Our wrestlers have put a lot of time in this summer and are expecting success.”

Coming off of a 4-20 record in 2014, Behrens will be looking to utilize that young talent at some key positions to regain the Bulldogs’ standing in the B-4 conference. Behrens will be looking at leadership from his three seniors, Marcelino Ramos, Quentin Timblin and Christian Pester. Ramos earned a respectable 33-16 record last year at 113 pounds and qualified for state. Timblin maintained a steady 23-26 record his junior year at 160 pounds and Pester is looking to make up for his junior year, which was spent largely on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury early in the season last year. At 220, Pester should be a conference force in the upper weight bracket.

With a total of 31 wrestlers on this year’s squad, 20 of those freshmen, there will plenty of opportunities for younger wrestlers to fill some varsity slots. Fundamentals, however, will be first.

Assistant coaches Trevor Stamen, Willie Schwartzkopf and volunteer coach Jared Berger are focusing on building up the young squad to become well-conditioned and confident varsity athletes.
“First we want to compete. Win or lose the coaches want to see our guys competing until the whistle blows. Secondly we obviously want to address our dual record and increasing the number of guys going to state. If we compete day in and day out on the mat, those areas will take care of themselves,” Behrens said.

The Bulldog wrestling program has also implemented a new inter-squad incentive to enhance the depth the squad had as several weight classes. Varsity dog tags will be awarded to wrestlers who have worked up the ranks to earn a chair on the varsity floor.

“The kids are excited about the varsity dog tags, and what they represent. They feel that it is symbol of hard work and honor the right to wear them. The piece that makes it exciting for us coaches, is that we are 3-5 deep in some weights, so there will always be someone nipping at their heels to earn their right to have the dogtags,” Behrens said.

The Bulldogs will have a tougher schedule than in previous years, adding another JV tournament and new tournaments at Cheyenne East, Valentine and Chadron. Behrens said Scottsbluff, Lexington, Cozad and Ogallala remain the teams of focus for the Bulldogs. Still, Behrens said he is excited about the prospects and the future of Bulldog wrestling.

“Since we are in a rebuilding year, we have spent a lot of time on our feet and just basic position. We are not going to be a fancy team this season, but we believe that opponents will have to work hard to get us out of position,” he said.

The Bulldogs opened their season Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Sedgewick County duals in Colorado where they got wins from freshman Cody Ybarra at 160, senior Quentin Timblin at 170, senior Christian Pester at 285, senior Marcelino Ramos at 113 and freshman Aaron Tovar at 120. The team traveled to Cozad Dec. 6 with Gering placing 9th with 77 team points out of a field of 15 teams. Senior Christian Pester earned the gold at 285 pounds and 24 team points with his three match wins. Pester pinned Lexington’s Everado Corona in 1:56 before repeating a quick 1:07 pin in the semin-final round over Aurora’s Dalton Peters. Pester topped the stand with an 8-7 decision over Sidney’s Dominic Beyer in the championship match.

The Bulldogs also earned three other individual medals at Cozad. Senior Marcelino Ramos earned the bronze medal at 113 pounds. Ramos won by major decision 14-4 over Aurora’s Zach Trumble to advance to the semi-final where he was bested by his Lexington’s Pierro Garcia 7-6. In the consolation round Ramos won by at 13-8 decision before returning to the mat with Trumble for the 3rd place medal, earned with a 10-2 major decision.

Aaron Tovar brought home the 5th place medal at 120 pounds. Tovar pinned Cody Barbee of Adams Central in 2:29 in his opening round before suffering two fall losses to Seward’s Brendan Doyle and Chadron’s Joe Ritzen. Tovar completed his 5th place match with an injury default over Minden’s Hector-Ornelas-Calderon.

Senior Quentin Timblin took the stand in 4th place at 170 pounds, earning 14 team points. Timblin owned four rounds, beginning with a 6-3 decision over Chadron’s Curtis McMann in the opening match, before losing a 10-2 major decision to Wahoo’s Sean Anson in the quarterfinal round. Timblin rebounded to claim a 2:00 fall over Lexington’s Ethan Woehrle, a 4-2 decision over Medicine Valley’s Scott Taylor, and a 5-1 decision over Cozad’s Zeke Derr. However, due to the tournament’s daily match limit rules, Timblin was required to forfeit the medal match, bringing home the 4th place medal.

This week the Bulldogs will continue a travel-heavy schedule at Cheyenne East for a three-day tournament followed by Wheatland and Valentine the week of Dec. 15 before breaking for the holidays. Bulldog wrestling action will resume Jan. 10, 2015 in Parker, Colo.

Gering Wrestling Schedule

Dec. 6 at Cozad Invitational, 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 11-13 at Cheyenne East Tournament TBA
Dec. 16 at Wheatland, Wyo. 6 p.m.
Dec. 19-20 at Valentine Tournament, 3 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Parker, Colo. tournament
Jan. 16 at Lexington, 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 20 Home with Scottsbluff, 7 p.m.
Jan 23-24 at Chadron
Jan. 27 Home with Alliance, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Torrington, Wyo., 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 at Greeley, Colo. TBA
Feb. 6 Home with Sidney, 7 p.m.

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