Team Kansas Aims for 7th Consecutive RMN Duals Title
Growing in size, reputation, and competition since its inception in 2011, the Rocky Mountain National Duals on March 16, 2018, have becoming increasingly popular in its two divisions for middle and high school. Independent athletes may join teams to fill in missing weight classes. Those who wish to compete in freestyle may do so, whether they are on a dual team or not; this competition will be expertly officiated by an all-Fargo crew of M1 officials from 6 states.
The Kansas high school team assembled by coaches Will Coakley and Eric Johnson is traditionally formed by selecting recent placers from the state championships. More often than not, these wrestlers are state champions and often repeat champs (two, three, and four-time). For the past six years, excluding the first year of the RMN Duals, the Kansas team has captured the high school division.
These Kansas wrestlers, as described by RMN’s Ed Gutierrez, “always come prepared to meet the best competition and challenge them to a match.” In fact, they purposely seek to meet and beat other state’s top wrestlers, in an effort to prove Kansas’ superiority. In 2017, Kansas wrestlers edged Colorado standouts, Dominick Serrano and Ponderosa’s 2X champ Cohlton Schultz. Serrano avenged his 1-point decision two days later in the finals match at Rocky Mountain Nationals.
However, Kansas will face stiff competition from a number of other teams with highly-rated wrestlers. One of the challengers will be New Mexico Team Gold, led by Coach Rey Gallegos, comprised of the best athletes across the state and also forming a year-round travel team with multiple state champions. Their tradition is built on character, respect, values, and perseverance. See full-feature article on the NM Gold team on these pages.
Another team to watch in the high school division is the Takedown Elite team formed by Eric Martinez in El Paso, Texas. This is a club-centered program which only allows those who belong to the club to compete on their national team. They are proud of their focus on the true fundamentals. See feature story on Coach Martinez.
In the middle school division, look for the team race to come down to the Colorado-based POWA team coached by Adam Urenda, which draws top athletes from all over the country, and the defending middle school champion Montana team led by Mike Stokes (see separate feature on Coach Stokes).