New coaches, new season, new schedule.
The Bayfield High School wrestling team, under the direction of a new coaching staff for the first time in a dozen years, will open the 2012-13 season today at the Dove Creek Invitational.
Normally, the Wolverines would be wrestling at home in their annual Wolverine Classic this weekend. But with major schedule adjustments in early Colorado high school tournaments this year, Bayfield officials opted to postpone the Wolverine Classic for a year.
“We’re going to bring it back next year after the schedules settle,” said Todd McMenimen, a former Bayfield assistant who took over as the head coach this season.
Former head coach Herb Stinson, a member of the National High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, retired at the end of last season, ending his 12-year run at BHS. Assistant coach Marshall Hahn, the former BHS head football coach, also left the program at the end of last year when he took a football coaching position in Rogers, Ark.
But McMenimen, who has been involved with Bayfield wrestling for 15 years, already ensured a link from Wolverine wrestling past to Wolverine wrestling present – and future.
McMenimen actually took over the program late when Stinson’s initial successor was unable to start the season because of a business/family situation; McMenimen agreed to step in.
And he immediately reached out to former Bayfield state champion, collegiate wrestler and recent Colorado School of Mines graduate Jordan Larsen.
“I’m really excited about bringing Jordan back to the wrestling room (at BHS),” McMenimen said.
“He overachieved in high school. He went on to Mines, where he was a two-time national qualifier. His ... enthusiasm is 100-percent genuine,” McMenimen said after Larsen led the new-edition Wolverines through a spirited workout in the same room where he trained to win a state championship for BHS.
“He’s going to bring a lot to us. He wants to be able to take over the program at some point,” said McMenimen, and he’s all too happy to bridge the gap to a new generation of wrestling at BHS.
McMenimen said the Wolverines are eager to start the new season.
“It’s our first opportunity to wrestle ... somebody else,” McMenimen said. “We’re a little rusty with football.”
Several Wolverines are recovering from football injuries and won’t compete this weekend.
McMenimen said the BHS lineup today will start with freshman Taylor Winch at 113 pounds.
Tyler Beebee, a sophomore with some varsity matches last year, will wrestle at 120. BHS senior Tyler Dowchar also will be in the 120-pound bracket.
Varsity returnee Colter McMenimen, son of the head coach, will wrestle at 126.
Allec Rodriguez, a senior and standout on the football team, will go at 132.
“He is so quick on his feet. He’ll be exciting to watch,” the BHS head coach said.
Veteran Drake Rhodes, a four-year starter in BHS wrestling, will wrestle at 138 pounds.
Senior teammate Joe Zink, a two-time state qualifier, will go at 145 this year.
Ian Hermanns will wrestle at 145 this week.
Senior Mike Popke, a BHS soccer player, is back out for wrestling this year.
“He’s a very athletic kid ... he drills hard,” McMenimen said of the 152-pounder.
State qualifier Jon Roberts, who will wrestle at 171 this week, likely will go at 160 later in the season, according to McMenimen.
James Young, the goalie on the BHS soccer team, will wrestle at 160 for the Wolverines.
Blane Barnes, Michael Goodman and first-year wrestler Wyatt Williams will handle the heavier weights.
“Wyatt’s decided he’s going to give it (wrestling) a try. He’s hoping it will help his football,” McMenimen said of the defensive/offensive lineman.
“He’s so strong ... he’s a strong farm kid,” the BHS coach said.
Senior Dominic Brittain, the popular placekicker from the BHS football team, will wrestle at 195 this year.
Matt Certes, a senior, is set at 220.
Matt Eckstein, a senior and returning state qualifier, is ticketed for the heavyweight slot. He’s still dropping weight from football and won’t hit the BHS lineup until after Christmas, McMenimen said. He played football at 315 pounds, but Eckstein will wrestle at the 285-pound heavyweight level.
“He gets better every year,” McMenimen said.