Young stars in Gresham wrestling

Max Young , Staff Writer

   Long considered the underdogs, the wrestling team and its 4 junior captains hope to start a new era in Gresham’s sports history. 

   Following a season where they won their first dual-meet in 6 years, there are high hopes for the team, including aspirations of sending wrestlers to state. First-time captains, Isaiah Culbertson, Ethan Davis, Tanner Calkins, and Chris Howard are planning to lead their team to many more victories. With support from their coach, they believe that they can be the turning point in a wrestling team that’s struggled for the better part of a decade.

  More students are joining wrestling looking for something different than other sports. While each sport has its own attributes, wrestling, similar to football, stands out for its physicality. 

   “I really enjoy it because it’s a much more physical kind of sport. If you’re definitely into more, kind of aggressive sort of sports then it’s definitely one you’d want to choose,” junior wrestler Isaiah Culberston said.

   While wrestling is an individual sport, what seems to be the most important part of it is the team comradery. Similar to track and field or cross country, a big incentive to join wrestling is the ability to go at your own pace while having the same team-bond as other sports.

   “It brings you closer to other people that you thought you never would have ever thought to be close with. It just makes the connections, the friendships and relationships with your teammates and your coaches,”wrestling coach Elijah Kue said.

   What seems to be so special about this group of wrestlers is their willingness to improve.More work in the offseason, and 2 and a half hour practices every school day, they are well on their way. With hopes of being state champs, getting better everyday is vital to them. 

   “They want to get better, they want to be good, they want to do something here. You know, their dreams are to be state champs and their dreams are to be district champs,” said Kue. “And I’m happy to hear that from them. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that from someone. And so I’m very, very proud to be coaching this group of guys because, you know, hopefully we can do something in these next few years,”

   After placing second in districts and attending state in his sophomore year, Chris Howard starts his junior year with captain status and the team at his back. With arguably the greatest chance at making a run in state, all eyes will be on Howard to see if he can back up his amazing sophomore campaign.

   “I’m very excited to see Chris Howard wrestle this year.  He shined a lot and grew a lot in sophomore year, he was determined. He’s even more determined now that he’s a junior. You know, he had a little bit of a taste of what the next level is,” Kue said.

   The highlight of last season for the team was their dual-meet win over rival school Centennial who had been the district champs in both of the previous years. This win over the reigning champs marked their first dual meet win in 6 years. 

   “We won our first meet in a really long time against a pretty heavy rival school. But to have a win finally, after a pretty long losing streak is really nice. And it really shows how far we’ve grown as a team and how we’re actually developing into a stronger wrestling group,” Culbertson said.