Coach Dax Charles dips into local, area talent for program's second season back.
By TRACY RENCK
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
Year one of the rebirth of the Colorado State University-Pueblo
wrestling program last season was a bumpy ride.
That was expected.
Now, Pack coach Dax Charles has added 18 new recruits to help bolster his team.
"We went out and got some quality (incoming) freshmen wrestlers from around the state and the country to help supplement the older guys who we have in the program," Charles said.
The University of Southern Colorado wrestling program, now known as CSU-Pueblo, was eliminated on May 15, 2001, because of a shortfall in the school's athletic budget. However, in May of 2007, the Colorado State University System Board of Governors unanimously approved the expansion of the athletics program at CSU-Pueblo. In 2008-09, the school reintroduced football, wrestling and women's track.
Charles' an NCAA Division II national champion wrestler in 1992 for USC and a longtime assistant at the school, has plenty of local and area flavor in his second recruiting class.
Pueblo County's Bryce Sciumbato, South's Derek Ruiz and Central's Kyle Newton are all in the ThunderWolves' fold. They will be joined by Alamosa's Kyle Holman and Crowley County's Billy Gray. Pueblo West's Jordan Garcia, a two-time state finalist, also is walking on for the Pack. Chris McWhorter, a Pueblo South grad, also has transferred from Western State to CSU-Pueblo's team.
"There's a great talent pool of wrestlers from Pueblo and I want to keep these kids in Pueblo so they can wrestle in front of their home crowd," Charles said. "It's also great to get kids from the surrounding areas."
Sciumbato won the Class 4A 125-pound state championship in February and Ruiz was a perennial state contender at 119 and 125 pounds. Holman was a Class 4A runner-up at 135 pounds last season and Gray was the Class 2A heavyweight champ.
"I'm excited to get to compete at a good program like CSU-Pueblo and I'm anxious to see what I can do," Ruiz said. "It's good to have Bryce (Sciumbato) as a teammate now and we've been working out a lot together to get ready for the upcoming season."
Gray concurred with Ruiz.
"This is a great opportunity for me," Gray said. "I feel like with Dax and all the other coaches at CSU-Pueblo that I will improve by leaps and bounds. I know getting to wrestle in college will be a great experience for me."
Two former local state champs - Pueblo West's Tony Chavarria and Pueblo East's Markus Portillos - also are competing for the Pack.
Trevor Grant of Winnemucca, Nevada, and Treven Delaune of Marrero, La., are the Pack's most decorated recruits as they were both tabbed prep All-Americans. Grant's older brother, Justin, a senior-to-be, also competes for the ThunderWolves.
2009 CSU-PUEBLO WRESTLING RECRUITS
Bryce Sciumbato 125 pounds Pueblo
Treven Delaune 125 pounds Marrero, La.
Derek Ruiz 125 pounds Pueblo
Ryan Kirby 125 pounds Byers
Kenny Porter 125 pounds Bennett
Michael Jaquess 133 pounds Colorado Springs
Benjamin Collins 133 pounds Marrero, La.
Nick Stahler 141 pounds Palmer, Alaska
Kyle Holman 141 pounds Alamosa
Kyle Newton 141 pounds Pueblo
Levi Jutila 149 pounds North Pole, Alaska
Aaron Eberhart 157 pounds Polmar, Calif.
Dalton Harrington 157 pounds Honolulu, Hawaii
Trevor Grant 165 pounds Nevada
Salvatore Howes 174 pounds Denver
Joshua LaClair 197 pounds Booton, N.J.
Billy Gray 285 pounds Crowley County
Moises Alcala 285 pounds Westminster