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MANCHESTER — The West Delaware wrestling team took its preseason preparation to new heights this summer.
Thirty wrestlers and 15 adults traveled from the cornfields of Iowa to the Rockies in Colorado for the wrestling program’s eighth trip over the past 22 years. Over the six-day adventure, the Hawks started training for the upcoming season.
The group left Manchester at 6 a.m. on July 17. After a 15-and-a-half hour drive, it arrived at the Garden of the Gods campground in Colorado Springs.
“The drive was great,” junior Jordan Bries said. “I whooped Harrison (Goebel) in chess, and we had Wi-Fi in our truck, so it was a pretty good time.”
After resting for the night, the wrestlers woke to a relay workout led by Jake Voss, former West Delaware wrestler.
“I had to lug my partner, Ben (Ridenour), up over my shoulders like I was John Cena,” Bries said. “Then, I ran all the way to the fence with his 210 pound body on my shoulders, and he had to carry me back. We lost to everybody, but it was a fun workout.”
During these workouts, the wrestlers felt the difference in altitude between Iowa and Colorado.
“You had to be in good shape because the air was so much thinner,” Goebel, a senior, said.
Later in the day, the team traveled to the United States Olympic Training Center for another workout led by the United States Greco-Roman team.
“It was nice getting taught something other than folkstyle wrestling,” sophomore Zach Fisher said. “I’ve never wrestled Greco before.”
The day after, the group of 45 prepared to climb the Manitou Incline. The incline is a mile in length and has a 2,000-foot elevation.
“Climbing the incline was hard,” freshman Jared Voss said. “My lungs were tired. My legs were tired. My whole body was tired.”
On day four of their trip, the crew took its outdoor workouts to a much nicer facility — the United States Air Force Academy.
“It was an amazing experience,” sophomore Evan Woods said. “It’s one of those things you’ll only do once. Wrestling in their wrestling room was awesome.”
The group spent its last day in Colorado white-water rafting and playing mini golf.
“My favorite part of the trip was white-water rafting for sure,” Fisher said. “The thrill of almost being thrown off the boat was fun. It gave me a rush.”
Besides providing the wrestlers with a great life experience, the five-day trip gave the boys a chance to become closer as a team.
“Every day at our campground, the whole team would play each other in Spikeball,” Jared Voss said. “Mitchel (Mangold) and I went undefeated the whole week, and everybody was trying really hard to beat us.”
Head Coach Jeff Voss said the trip was a success.
“We had over 45 people together for six days,” he said. “The trip promoted team bonding and created some memories that everyone will take for a lifetime.”
The trip also showed the team a glimpse of its upcoming season.
“I think we’re going to have a pretty good team,” Bries said. “We all connected really well, and everybody is really competitive and gets after it.”