Gering wrestling builds on experience
     2016-12-02      By Frank Marquez    editor@geringcitizen.com
Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen Members of the 2016 – 2017 Gering High School wrestling team are, from left in the front row: Donovan DeLosSantos, Jr. Aguilar, Jaylin Chun, Eric Blue, Tyler Coleman, Conrad Sibal, Gavin Grant and Tony Maldonado. Middle row: Eric Radomski, Logan Murdock, Austin Garcia, Austin Duncan, Tim Bernhardt and JinLee Sayloune. Back row: Julian Corona, Aaron Tovar, Jordan Overlin, Draven Steel, Josh Audlee, Esteban Avalos, Cody Ybarra, Quintien Onstott, Andres Canales, Ricky Saenz and Connor Grant. 
Editor’s note: The Gering Bulldogs’ J.J. Behrens heads into his fourth year as head coach for varsity and junior varsity wrestling teams, and his sixth year overall, with two years as an assistant. The Bulldogs varsity wrestling team is looking to improve on a 15-17 record last year, a relative building block season. Below is a Q&A with Coach Behrens and how he feels about how this year’s team is shaping up, and what they’d like to accomplish as a team. Their first match was yesterday, Dec. 1, against Sedgwick County in Ovid, Colorado. The team heads to the Cozad Invite on Saturday, Dec. 3. (The complete schedule is listed below). The rest of the schedule reveals an unrelenting season against tough opponents, that includes conference foes in Class B, but one that could provide the necessary lessons in improving on basic skills.

Q: What is the general outlook for this season?

A: We have a lot of guys with varsity experience coming back this year, and still have a tremendous amount of growth ahead of us since we only have two seniors out this season. Obviously, our goal is to improve on last season and I am confident that we can achieve this. At this time, we still have a few lingering injuries from football, and may not get some (wrestlers) back until after Christmas.

Q: What are the team’s goals? Individual goals for varsity wrestlers?

A: Academics have to be our first team goal. Last year and unfortunately looking into this season our toughest opponent is going to be eligibility. Individually, we have several guys that have goals of not only going to the state tournament, put also placing.

Q: Who are some of your main opponents? What is their style of wrestling?

A: The Panhandle will be well represented this year with quality wrestlers. Scottsbluff, Alliance, and Sidney will all have very competitive teams coming into this season. As for style, the only style we tend to focus on is ours, “Gering Wrestling Style.” I feel that at all levels, we are getting a culture and expectation established.

Q: Are you changing anything in practices, or your approach with the wrestlers, such as working more on fundamentals and/or technique?

A: The coaches and I feel that we need to continue to work on our technique and putting ourselves is positions to get better, physically and mentally. One of our mottos for this season is “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.” There will be difficult times on the mat. We may have to work through those tough times; having the mental fortitude to fight through those times is a life skill that will help them beyond the wrestling mat. Coach Berger and I have been together for three years now and I feel that we are definitely creating a culture within Gering. This culture is starting to show its face at our federation and junior high level. Because of this we are continuing to build on technique and mat time that many of our guys put in this summer.

Q: How many total wrestlers do you have out? New wrestlers? Returners on JV and Varsity and their achievements last year? Which of the wrestlers do you think will have successful seasons? Which of them are the leaders or captains?

We are right at about 25 to 30 guys. We have three returning state qualifiers, and another who qualified two years, ago. Obviously those four have high goals set for this season along with several others that have spent plenty of time on the mat and in the weight-room this summer. As for leaders, we have several guys wanting to step up to the challenge, but I am going to leave it up our guys to vote who are captains are each week. I believe that it’s not going to be an easy choice for them.

Q: What is your wrestling background (high school and college)? How did you get into coaching wrestling?

A: In high school I was a three-time state qualifier and two-time state placer. After graduation, I spent one year wrestling at University of Northern Colorado, and after making the decision not to wrestle the next year, I began to coach thereafter. Since 1998, I believe that there has only been one season that I have not been in a wrestling room helping in some fashion. I made to move up to head coach in Wray, Colorado, in 2004 where I spent three years, then was able to move closer to home where I spent four years in Sterling, Colorado. My wife and I made to move to Gering, Nebraska, after circling four places on the map in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. Every location we selected had some family, but over the years I had always taken my teams to tournaments in this area, and I just loved driving down Wildcat Hills into Gering. When the opportunity presented itself to come here, it was an easy decision for us.

Q: Who are your assistants? What experience do they bring to the mat room?

A: Jared Berger has been with the program now for the past three seasons; he was a two-time Nebraska State Champion for Gering and wrestled four years for UNL. Elijah Timblin is a new addition to the Gering coaching staff; he was a two-time state qualifier and Gering graduate.

Randy Donelson also is a new addition to the Gering coaching staff. He brings a wealth of coaching experience to the table, along with coaching a state championship team of his own. Donelson also had a very successful high school year and the opportunity to wrestle internationally. Marcelino Ramos spent last season as a volunteer coach, but we were able to add him to our coaching staff this year. Marcelino was a two-time state qualifier and also a Gering graduate.

Q: Is there anything else you think is important to mention in the preview?

A: I encourage the community to come and see the hard work that our guys have put in this off-season. It should be a good time for them and the Gering Community.

Share this story on Facebook
LOGIN or REGISTER for exclusive access to premium content

Good Evening friend!
Recently Read Sports
2324Gering wrestling builds on experience
649Wrestling Results: UNK Midwest Duals on Jan. 15
650G’burg Invite takes toll on Gering volleyball
6892012 Scotts Bluff County Fair - PRCA Rodeo
1092Bearcats tennis takes third at North Platte
882Bearcats 3rd in district; Bulldogs’ Keller makes state
741Learning from all results spells success for Legion seniors
106129th Tour de Nebraska Bicycle Tour set for June
730PVC Seniors look to find niche as postseason nears
1235All Points West: It’s only another Games, right?
589 Lady Cougars gearing up for season with two-a-days
733Legion alumni celebrate Fourth with 15-6 explosion
645Bulldogs rally to beat Bearcats in District B-6 tourney
665Gering puts Sidney to test Dogs hold lead until 4th Qtr. against playoff-bound Raiders
785Soccer season arrives with spring
1129All Points West: Dying hard is easy to do
778Mitchell teams take 3rd at Alliance
693Mitchell Tigers ready to roar
924Wrestlers prep for districts
1044Gering places 7th at Kansas tourney
Most Read Sports 2012
3762Mitchell track off to a strong start
3621Morrill baseball back in business
2920Rivals make good friends, better training partners
2832Mendoza spirit lives on in softball tournament
2483Raising the bar high
2450Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
2428Kizzire and Kautz take first place
2324Gering wrestling builds on experience
2265Doing the heavy lifting
2212Bulldogs basketball ready to run Class B gauntlet
2148Gering girls’ soccer team creating team first attitude
2047Gering resident lives his dream
1998Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
1966All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
1918All Points West: We’ll miss 2016 seniors
1913Gering Boys’ soccer builds foundation
1912Mud Volleyball has another wildly successful year
1902New Bayard coach looks for productive season
1890Bearcat coach nears finish line
1876All Points West: Deter gave us reason to golf
Most Read Sports 2011
3762Mitchell track off to a strong start
3621Morrill baseball back in business
2920Rivals make good friends, better training partners
2832Mendoza spirit lives on in softball tournament
2483Raising the bar high
2450Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
2428Kizzire and Kautz take first place
2324Gering wrestling builds on experience
2265Doing the heavy lifting
2212Bulldogs basketball ready to run Class B gauntlet
2148Gering girls’ soccer team creating team first attitude
2047Gering resident lives his dream
1998Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
1966All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
1918All Points West: We’ll miss 2016 seniors
1913Gering Boys’ soccer builds foundation
1912Mud Volleyball has another wildly successful year
1902New Bayard coach looks for productive season
1890Bearcat coach nears finish line
1876All Points West: Deter gave us reason to golf
Platte Valley Companies
Fresh Foods
American Legacy
Spectrum Photo
Kendell Henderson
= = = Platte Valley Companies' = = =
Sports Page

Check out the
Gering Bulldogs on