Lone Wildcat wrestler prepares for his first year on mats


December 14, 2017

Stephanie Pedersen for the Western Nebraska Observer

Deven Sullivan controls an opponent in his first home meet on the Banner County wrestling team. In this, Deven's first year, he is the sole grappler for the Wildcats. While one-on-one coaching time is enviable, the lack of teammates makes practicing moves difficult.

Veteran wrestling coach Bill Gifford and assistant Martin Olsen will coach a sole Banner County wrestler this season, newcomer Deven Sullivan.

Sullivan, wrestling at 145, practices every weekday after school, according to Gifford, but practices look a bit different with just one grappler.

"Practices contain a lot of technique and drilling without live wrestling," Gifford said. "Conditioning is a big part of the practice."

While Sullivan will benefit from a lot of one-on-one time with Gifford, who brings 18 years coaching experience to the mats, there are few other pros to practicing solo.

"Our competitions this year will be our practice time for live wrestling. That is the only place for Deven to adjust to speed and tempo of matches and get a chance to practice the technique in a live environment," Gifford said. "It is not the perfect world, but you have to make the best with what you are given and continue to move forward. It's just part of the adversity that must be faced and overcome. With only one wrestler, it will be very challenging. Our goal is to just try to improve each week and help our wrestler learn from, and gain an appreciation for our sport."


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