Dawgs dominate districts


Clay Stone, Managing Editor

“When it comes down to the match the scoreboard reads 0-0 and both wrestlers are on an equal playing field,” said head wrestling coach Dale Hall. Hall is leading seven varsity wrestlers straight for State and they are going with a load of confidence. Freshman Jaylan Ruffin had to wrestle against the best wrestler in the state for his weight class at districts. He wasn’t really worried at all, “I think I’m definitely going to make State this year.” said Ruffin before districts. And he came through on his confidence, Ruffin qualified with a fourth place finish in his weight class. “I’m really going to have to stay physical and keep my strength up when it comes to the match.”
The future looks really bright for Dawgs’ wrestling.
11 freshmen are on the team this year. Four of the 11 will already be getting their first look at the state competition. “Down the road, I’ll bet that a lot of these freshmen end up taking leading roles in this organization and really keep us right on the winning track,” said Hall. Freshman Darian Diaz is one of the four freshmen wrestlers looking to make a name for himself and North Platte High at State. Diaz finished third at the district meet on the 10th, but still easily qualified for State. “I got tied up, I stayed too stiff and went high when I should’ve went low,” said Diaz about his third loss all season. “I’m really going to have to work on staying low, and work on my cardio so I don’t get tired.” Either way Diaz can’t wait for his shot at the state tournament. “I’m really looking forward to the big crowd and just competing with so many people watching.”
The team isn’t consumed only by winning, Hall is intent on helping his team get better and preparing them so that they can be ready when their time comes. “We have a lot of guys who’s records might not not be so flashy, but they have a lot of talent and a lot of potential,” says Hall. Hall knows that when it comes down to it, it all rests on the shoulders of his wrestlers and he’s not worried about failure. “I’m sure every single one of those guys are going to get in there and go as hard as they can,” Diaz thinks that the team shouldn’t be too concerned about the next season. “I think we’re all going to get stronger and weigh better because we are going to a lot of camps this summer.”
For senior Jordan Barber, this is his last chance at winning state. Injury has been a problem for Barber this season, but he still pulled out another state qualifying performance. “Coming off my injury, it’s just such a big victory to go in and come out on top,” says Barber. As for his preparation for his second run at State, it will be mostly mental. “It’s going to be more of a mindset thing for me, not just going to the weight room, but making sure I’m really ready to get back and compete.” Barber feels like the team this year is solid and is going to bring results. “Our program right now is really strong, and I think that a lot of the freshman coming in are going to be strong leaders for the team.” For now though, these guys are just ready to get better and better, and definitely take a shot at the podium.