When East first announced that Ben Sutherlin would be replacing Coach Ufford as the head wrestling coach, many were skeptical. But after leading nine wrestlers to state, Coach Sutherlin has fans excited for the future of SME wrestling.
Sutherlin is praised for his eagerness to teach, his fresh and energetic approach and his hands-on coaching styles. Evidently, these qualities are vital to a team’s success. Sutherlin’s ability to compete in a conference as tough as the Sunflower league has impressed the team.
“We had four really good seniors who worked hard all season,” Sutherlin said. “We competed really hard, and that was the expectation I had all along.”
Sutherlin said senior leadership played a huge role in the team’s success this season. Sutherlin was impressed with the work ethic and motivation of the wrestlers.
Leading the team in both experience and points, senior Marshall Green dominated his 152-pound weight class. Going into the season, Green was unranked. Green demolished the expectations, and took first in his class at this year’s Sunflower League tournament. He also managed a fourth place at State in his weight class.
“[Green] worked really hard in the weight room every day,” Sutherlin said.
Also putting up impressive numbers was junior Michael Aldrich. Aldrich placed sixth in the 132-pound weight class. Aldrich was also unranked going into the season. To Coach Sutherlin, it was no surprise that these two wrestlers made so much progress this season.
“I don’t think there were any surprises,” says Sutherlin. “We all competed really hard, and that was the expectation I had all along.”
The Lancers came in 25th place as a team out of 40 total schools. Going into the tournament, Sutherlin gave his wrestlers some simple advice.
“Wrestle as hard as [you] can, don’t leave it in the officials’ hands at the end, and walk out of the arena knowing that you worked as hard as you could have,” Sutherlin said.
Sutherlin was happy with the results of the tournament, and although the team as a whole did not place in the top six as they had hoped, many Lancers had breakthrough performances. After returning from Park City this weekend, Coach Sutherlin and his team are already excited for next season.