The 2018 high school wrestling is just over a month in, and the Laramie Plainsmen are going through some growing pain under first year head coach Stuart Brinkman.

Brinkman got the job back in May and knew he would have some building to do with what the team lost from 2017.

“We’re pretty young. We have a lot of guys that are freshman, sophomores, and few juniors on the team. Also guys that never wrestled before, so we’re pretty much starting from the basics working our way up.”

Brinkman does say he’s seen a lot of gains to this point.

The Plainsmen return just seven letter winners from the 2017 season. They lost two state champs and a state runner-up, plus other varsity contributors.

The building blocks for 2018 include senior Arsenio Lemus and junior Ethan Sell, both of whom finished fourth at state last year. Unfortunately, Sell suffered an injury before the season. Another mainstay is junior Zech Aguilar, but he began the season on the injury list. Two others have been hit by the injury bug, as well, in seniors Ben Graeff and Zach Heil.

That’s why Brinkman isn’t necessarily focusing on scores.

“We kind of looking at this more individually because we’re definitely not a dual team. We’re giving up a lot of weights. We’re throwing guys in there that’s never wrestled varsity in their life… We’re just looking for progress right now.”

He does believe there are a couple of guys that can compete at an upper level, in Lemus and Aguilar.

Laramie has competed in five different events with a 1-1 dual record and some placers at three different invites.

Brinkman says the goal continues to be day-by-day advancement.

“We’re looking at the basics, and I’ve already noticed a big improvement, especially with guys last year that won two or three matches, and that’s all they won. This year they’ve already doubled that… just building that skill and getting our guys wrestling year-round, too.”

The next steps Brinkman says deal with confidence.

“Walking on the mat and not having any doubt. Once you have doubt in wrestling, you’ve already beat yourself. So, not beating ourselves before we walk on the mat and getting that confidence going.”

Two of Brinkman’s building blocks are the aforementioned Lemus and Aguilar. They visited with KOWB’s David Settle to provide more insight into the current season and their aspirations.

Laramie returns action Saturday at the Blazer Duals in Torrington. Their first home meet is next Wednesday versus Cheyenne Central.

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