Cheyenne Mountain Middle School Wrestling
Dedication from and to Coach Pat Engleright
Written by Paul Herzog, Parent & Coach
Seventeen wrestlers came to the RMN Colorado Middle School State Tournament for Cheyenne Mountain. A couple of our most promising wrestlers were out, so it was going to take a great effort by all of them. It’s truly what made the difference. We all did our best, finishing runner-up for the middle school team title, falling just 3 points short of Windsor.
Dominic Padilla learned an invaluable lesson in the Saturday night final matches. I heard it said by one of the greats that “sometimes you have to win a match two or three times.” Sometimes, it may be more like five or six times. Against a tough Windsor competitor, Padilla wrestled back time and time again when the score wasn’t going his way. The heart and grittiness to keep the pressure on period after period with insane tenacity through four overtimes secured him the win.
It kept us in the running going into the finals. Efforts like this from the whole team all weekend made the tournament unforgettable for Coach Pat Engleright’s final Cheyenne Mountain appearance. Coach Pat said of Dominic: “He went into that match with the confidence that he could beat anybody – and he did.”
Zac Johnson performed one of the grittiest, most unselfish acts I have seen in the sport, when he cut his opponent in the last seconds of the state finals when leading by 8 points. He had already secured his state championship and a major decision, but instead of riding it out, he let his competitor up with 0:18 seconds remaining. He then took his opponent down, turned him, and unimaginably scored a pin with one second remaining for an additional 2 team points. This dauntless young man just wanted to do more, give more, be more for his team and his coach.
At Cheyenne Mountain’s final year end party, there were easily 150 to 175 people on a Sunday. Coach Pat commented: “It’s a team that finishes strong, always. This may be hard to grasp for you kids, but this is the reason the sport is so good: it will make you a better person. You know you have more character than you had at the start of the year right now. There is no sport that builds you like the sport of wrestling.“ CM finished 10-0 in the Colorado Springs league in 2019.
Bill Barron, head official for RMN Events shares: “I have worked with, competed against, and officiated Pat Engleright’s quality middle school program for the past decade in Colorado. Pat is first and foremost a person of high integrity: what you see is what you get in the man. Always with a passionate embrace for his wrestlers as well as for the sport, Pat’s presence and persistence have been inseparable from the junior high team he has built into the best program in Colorado Springs as well as one of the top teams in Colorado.” Cheyenne Mtn. was the 2017 Colorado State Middle School Team Champion.
The Cheyenne Mountain Wrestling Club went from 5 to 7 kids at the start in 2004 to 135 participants this year. The younger coaches were encouraged to take over and step up and make this what it can be and to keep it going into the future. Pat states: “I will miss most of the relationships with the kids. No offense – I deal with the kids better than I do the parents. “
It was one of those moments where nobody left quickly because no one really wanted to end, but Coach Pat kept turning the celebration toward the kids. Everyone else was acutely aware of the prominence of the life of the coach and career that helped build all of them. Some of the high school wrestlers who came through his program reflected on “his example of selflessness and compassion.” Others remarked on the values and principles of his leadership style. Nearly 20 of his high school wrestlers each had their words to say in a final tribute to a coach who had helped make them all.
Bill adds: “As a coach and educator as well as official for forty years, I have made widespread peer acquaintances on both the East Coast and in the Western States. Of all those coaches, Pat stands out in the top tier for his knowledge of both technique and the rules, his disciplined but sensitive approach to each athlete, his matside management ranging from counsel to his wrestlers to well-chosen questions for the referee, and his capacity to be a teacher in the moment either in victory or defeat. Pat knows where he stands: respected by peers and officials, revered by his devoted athletes, and humbled by his ability to reach his kids where it counts.”
From the Herzog family toward RMN – Paul: “RMN has been part of our lives for the last three years. You can be assured that there will be big environments and great competition at locations throughout the Western United States. These settings made our wrestler Soren want to succeed. We have followed RMN, first living in New Mexico, now in Colorado. They provide an environment and level of competition that makes kids want to be competitive at that level.”
“RMN people have guided, encouraged and advised Soren’s efforts all along the way. Josh, Adam, Bill, and Ed have been a blessed part of our wrestling family and experience. The friendship and opportunities that have arisen from Soren’s involvement have been invaluable. The RMN effect has been keeping their wrestlers healthy, encouraged, and motivated to reach deeper for their very best. We love, love, love these competitions and the caliber of athletes that show up for these events.”
Mandy – “RMN does an incredible job of sticking to what they say they are going to do. Inspire, encourage, and recognize – they do an incredible job living up to these principles. The middle school event itself was a really well-planned and powerful experience for the wrestlers and the families. RMN always draw the best competition. You know there’s going to be plenty of people to wrestle and great competitors when you show up. It’s thoroughly worth the travel! It’s the largest venue and the most competitive event many wrestlers will ever find themselves in.”
Soren (MS State 171 lb.Champion & OW) – “I feel like RMN may not get all the credit they deserve for developing wrestling, for getting all of us out there in different places, and for making it all affordable. It’s been an inspiration and given me a lot of great competition throughout my wrestling career. I’m excited to see where they go in the future with their partnerships and where the sport of wrestling will go with their continued efforts.”
“I do not know a place where I made more friends with opponents and other wrestlers than I have with RMN; it has opened opportunities for me all over the country. They aspire to “Inspire, Encourage, and Recognize” … every time I attend an RMN event, I see that happening to me and everyone all around me."
171 MS State 2019 Champion & OW Soren Herzog met by Coach Pat Engleright (L) & dad Paul (R)