By Thomas Garcia: QCS staff writer
There was hardly room to stand as 35 Rattlers grappled, tossed and pinned each other during Tuesday’s night wrestling practice.
“Man, is it not great seeing this many kids out,” said Rattlers head coach Eddie Encinias. “I would like to keep them all but the work out might be to much for them. It is not all about winning. The kids health and safety are first on my list.”
To see so many guys interested in the program is great, said senior Casey Romero.
“Our teams have been 14-to-22 guys in the past,” Romero said. “This is freaking awesome.”
Coach wasted little time letting the new guys know what he and their team mates expect.
“Nothing less then your all,” Encinias said. “Guys we have got three days of hard practice until the Dumas tournament. I’ll be honest, if I do not think you are ready you will not be going.”
The Rattlers did not start practicing until Tuesday night because of the late end of the football season. While coach says this will be a challenge he knows the guys live for stuff like this.
“I think it is going to be tough,” said junior Patrick Wiegel. “Coach has a system and a plan to get us up to speed.”
The team was put through a tough series of cardio training running up and down bleachers and then went into grueling rotation of exercises designed to strengthen and increase their mobility.
“We are going to get that speed back into you,” Encinias said. “You guys have gone soft, what happened push, push you know you have it in you.
Last year the Rattlers had 22 wrestlers and 12 of them qualified for state competition. Three Rattlers placed in state tournament. Raymond Jimenez first, 103 pounds and Ryan Fought first, 140 pounds, who both graduated. Leroy Sena, a senior this year placed second in the heavy weight division.
Tucumcari will compete at Dumas, Texas on Saturday.