Lecraw leads Falcons in quad

WOODSTOCK — Central wrestling coach Michael Sanders is a self-acknowledged “pusher” of young men and in Colton Lecraw, he has a willing recipient.

“[Assistant] coach [Tyler] Drummond and I are in the room with them every day,” said Sanders after a quad meet Wednesday night with George Mason, Jefferson (West Virginia) and Martinsburg (West Virginia).

The team results were perhaps not what Sanders wanted, but in Lecraw (3-0 at 120 pounds) he had at least one diamond in the rough.

“I’m in your face. If you score, I want you to score some more,” said Sanders, discussing his philosophy. “I want a point, a point and another point. It doesn’t help you to pin a guy after 26 seconds. It’s better to stay out on the mat some more and work on some things.”

Correspondingly, Lecraw said he was pleased with his sweep of opponents from the other three schools.

“My first match, I probably went out a little too quick,” Lecraw said. “The rest I was satisfied with.”

Lecraw, who has finished runner-up in his conference tournament the last two years, was describing what his coach wants.

“When I say I went out a little too quick, it means that I probably should have stayed out there with my guy and worked on my technique,” he said.

Lecraw pinned Martinsburg’s Dalton Yeager in 26 seconds in his first match, defeated Jefferson’s Marco Tapia on a technical fall next and then, in his nightcap, pinned George Mason’s Henry Casillas in 1:42.

“I slowed down in the second two matches,” he said, following coach instructions.

“My coach this year has really made me more aggressive. I know when I go out there I have to get on my guy quick. There’s no time to warm up. And you really don’t know what you have until you get out there,” said Lecraw, who was 4-1 in last weekend’s Group 3A East Conference 28 meet at Rock Ridge High School.

In all this season, Lecraw, who formerly wrestled at 106 and 113 pounds his first two high school years, has run his record to 14-5 with eight pins.

“Tyler tends to relax a little in the room and out here on the mat, but the main thing with him is that sometimes he can be his own worst enemy,” Sanders said. “He thinks too much. If he just puts those blinders on, he’ll learn that good things happen.”

Indeed, echoing his coach, Lecraw said he lost his single match at Rock Ridge “because I just into my head too much.”

After coming up short of qualifying for the state meet his first two years, Lecraw said making it to the season-ending championship is goal No. 1 in this, his junior season.

“That’s what I want. I want to get into those regionals where the top four qualify for the states, I think if I keep working on it, that’s what I want to do,” he said.

Sanders’ philosophy may seem counter-intuitive, in that pinning an opponent would seem to exemplify dominating a match, but he believes just the opposite.

“If you go out there and put up as many points as you can, that’s true dominance. It does you no good to win quickly,” Sanders said. “Some people might think of it as running up the score, but I don’t. I think it’s the opponent’s job to stop you.”

Central’s Lecraw, Ben Rodriguez (145) and George Daniel (152) all blanked their opposition, 3-0, on the night.

The problem for the Falcons, who have yet to win a dual match this season, is that while they have a core of competitive wrestlers, they do not have enough.

“After the season is over, I want to get into the junior highs and put on some clinics and drum up some interest,” Sanders said.

Central put only six wrestlers on the mat at the high school. Martinsburg was the overall team winner (2-0), in part because the Bulldogs wrestled 12 participants, the most of any of the schools.

While Martinsburg forfeited two of the 14 events, Central did so on eight occasions. George Mason, which finished 2-1, wrestled five shy of the limit. Jefferson (1-1) put nine wrestlers on the mat.

The youthful Falcons acknowledged lone fourth-year David Wiggins on Senior Night.