Our Cry Wolf Wrestling story begins with carvings and drawings that illustrate wrestling positions, about 15,000 to 20,000 years old, in modern day France. The oldest artifacts of ancient sport are wrestlers cast on stone slabs by Sumarians about 5,000 years ago. Shuai Jiao, a martial art style of wrestling, originated in China about 4,000 years ago and the ancient Greeks developed wrestling to train soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. The Egyptian tombs around the village of Beni Hasan, dating about 2,500 BC, contain hundreds of wrestling-how-to drawings.
Since the first ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC and the modern Olympic Games in 1896, wrestling has been included in every Olympic Games except for 1900. Greco-Roman was reintroduced for the 1908 London Games and since the 1920 Antwerp Games, both Freestyle and Greco-Roman styles have been on every Olympic Programme. The Olympic Games are held once every fours years, while the World Championships are annually.
In 1989, pioneering women challenged the status quo and competed in the first Women’s Freestyle World Championships. In 1992, Tricia Saunders became the first Women’s Freestyle World Champion for the United States. She is also the first women inducted into the National Wrestling and the United World Wrestling Halls of Fame. 108 years after Athens, Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, Women’s Freestyle was added to the 2004 Olympic Programme. Athens would again be the birthplace for the fastest growing sport, high school or college, in the United States. The first Women’s Freestyle Olympic Medal for the United States was a Bronze earned by Clarissa Chun at the 2012 London Games. Helen Maroulis defeated Saori Yoshida (Japan) at the 2016 Rio Games to become the first Women’s Freestyle Olympic Champion for the United States. Yoshida had earned 13 World Championships and 3 Olympic Gold Medals prior to their 2016 match.
Kaori Icho (Japan) made Olympic history at the 2016 Rio Games when she joined Americans Al Oerter (Discus) and Carl Lewis (Long Jump) as the only athletes ever to earn four Olympic Golds in a single event. Will Icho becomes the first Olympic Athlete in history to earn 5 Olympic Gold Medals in a single event when her home country hosts the 2020 Tokyo Games?
WRESTLING: A MARTIAL ART
With the growth of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), wrestling has also gained popularity. Joe Rogan describes wrestling as the greatest MMA skill, because it dictates where the fight takes place. Having been around the sport of wrestling for almost 40 years, I do not recall it being considered a “martial art” until after I graduated high school. In November 1993, UFC 1 debuted a one-on-one, no weight classes, cage fight tournament between all martial arts to determine which was supreme. Royce Gracie answered this question and significantly influenced the evolution of martial arts around the world by winning UFC 1, 2 and 5 with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style. A major paradigm shift occurred concurrently with the acceptance of MMA as a sport and the acceptance of wrestling as a martial art. Today, wrestling is considered as possibly the single most important discipline to master before fighting in mixed martial arts.
VISTA RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL
Vista Ridge High School was established in 2008 and has qualified at least one wrestler for the State Wrestling Championships since 2010. Prior to the coaching staff turnover for the 2016-2017 Season, Vista Ridge had 20 State Qualifiers and 3 State Placers. Troy Bonewell accepted the Head Coach position in October 2016. Prior to Vista Ridge, he was a Colorado State Champion for Las Animas and wrestled at Adams State University. He coached at Wiley (1995-1998), Del Norte (1998-2001) and Sand Creek (2001-2014). After accepting the Vista Ridge position, he called Eric Everard and said “we are coaching again” after taking an 18 month break. They had coached together for almost a decade at Sand Creek, where they qualified 23 for the State Championships with 10 State Placers (2005-2014). At Vista Ridge, Jason Lloyd was added to the 2016-2017 coaching staff. Together, they coached 3 Regional Placers and 2 State Qualifiers their inaugural season. For the 2017-2018 Season, we doubled our coaching staff by adding Brian Galetta and Cory Carter, both former Sand Creek Wrestlers, as well as Ron Salazar. We also doubled our Regional Placers to 6 and both State Qualifiers placed (5th and 6th).
AURIBUS TENEO LUPUM
Our modern day Cry Wolf Wrestling motto, auribus teneo lupum, is an ancient Latin phrase that literally means, “I grasp a wolf by the ears.” Similar to “grab a tiger by the tail,” it is used to describe a situation where doing nothing and doing something are equally risky. I had a similar thought on February 11, 2017, while sitting matside and waiting for our heavyweight, Jeff Flippen, to be announced for his Region Championship match. Jeff had lost 55 lbs to wrestle heavyweight, which resulted in a non-threatening 5-4 season record. Aesop’s Fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, came to mind and I thought, “what if you are the wolf,” because our Vista Ridge High School mascot is the Wolf. This fable teaches us to not give false alarms. However, when a Wolf is at the edge of the forest, as Jeff represented by standing at the edge of the wrestling mat, it would not have been a false alarm for his opponents to Cry Wolf! He placed 5th at State the following year to end his wrestling career on a win and currently plays DII football at Adams State University in Colorado.
Our “Cry Wolf Wrestling” idea was further encouraged when 7 girls finished the 2017-18 Season and one, Bella Mitchell, placed 2nd at the Colorado Girls State Wrestling Invitational. Bella was one of 10 girls invited to compete on the Pepsi Center floor in Denver prior to the Semifinals and highlight girls wrestling for all spectators. Previously, we experienced only one or two girls on our team each season. In March 2018, the Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) approved a path for Girls Wrestling to become a sanctioned sport and have a CHSAA Girls State Wrestling Championships Tournament during the 2020-21 Season. With support from the Vista Ridge High School Athletics Director, Mr. Sam Baldwin, a Girls Wrestling Head Coach stipend was approved and Coach Eric Everard was named the Associate Head Coach for Vista Ridge Coed Wrestling. Mr. Baldwin also funded a girls wrestling uniform, consisting of compression shirts and shorts, and supported our ability to offer a full girls tournament schedule with a CHSAA sponsored Girls Wrestling Regionals and State Tournament for the 2018-19 Season.
CRY WOLF WRESTLING CLUB
The Cry Wolf Wrestling Club became a USA Wrestling Chartered Club (1800182602) in 2018. Our goal is to continue a FREE wrestling club for all Vista Ridge Wrestlers that focuses on Freestyle and Greco-Roman outside the CHSAA winter sport and Folkstyle season. We aspire to provide a FREE opportunity for youth to benefit from the life lessons learned through the sport of wrestling, girls and boys, within the Colorado Springs area.
Bella Mitchell and Gaby Norman, current Vista Ridge High School Wrestlers, represented Team Colorado at the March 2018 USMC Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Oklahoma City. Ashley Keenan, a prior wrestler we coached throughout high school, transferred from Regina University in Canada, after they cancelled all wrestling programs, to Colorado Mesa University when they announced their inaugural DII Women’s Wrestling Program for the 2018-19 Season.
USA Wrestling Chartered Club offering a safe place for Girls and Boys to explore wrestling
To learn more about the history of our sport, please visit the following websites and enroll in USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program (NCEP).