Amazing learning experience for Gilpin youth
By Patty Unruh
Eighth grader Dante Nadeau brought honor to Gilpin County middle school by being selected to represent the school at the State wrestling tournament March 29-30 at the Denver Coliseum. Although Dante did not win either of his two State matches, he displayed a positive attitude. “It was a great experience,” he asserted, “and I know what I have to do if I want to go to State in high school.”
Dante had taken fifth place in the 85-pound weight class at the regional tournament March 23, allowing him to go to the state tournament. He won two of his four regional matches. The top eight wrestlers from the regional tournament then went on to State.
Having a Gilpin wrestler selected for the State tournament was an unanticipated event, but the school, coaches Royce McLain and Craig Ball, and the team quickly rallied together to help Dante prepare. They all took time out of their spring break to help with practices and to go to the tournament to show their support. The other team members are Justin Stundon, Josh Trujillo, and Jack Ball, all seventh graders.
The tournament was an amazing experience for the whole team. As wrestlers began arriving, they weighed in and were seeded as to who would wrestle at what time. The atmosphere was electric during the Friday night opening ceremony. Dante joined the other wrestlers in taking their positions on the fourteen mats set up in the center of the floor for the first bout. The wrestling officials were introduced, followed by a prayer and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” An upbeat song roused the crowd, along with a wrestling countdown in the great tradition of the World Wrestling Federation. Spotlights roved over the nervous youth as the crowd hollered, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”
Gigetta Nadeau, Dante’s mother, said, “The school was wonderfully supportive. They opened up so Dante could come in and practice. His teammates helped him, and the coaches were there. The Booster Club donated money.”
Most of the boys at the state tournament wrestle year round and have been doing so since elementary school. People were surprised that Dante had only been wrestling for three years, and for only two months out of the year, at that.
The team’s coaches and parents are hoping to find a youth wrestling club for all of the boys so that they can further themselves in the sport. Gilpin does not presently have a high school team, so Dante may have to wrestle his first year of high school at Clear Creek.
Congratulations to Dante and all of Gilpin’s wrestlers!