Westin Hoffschneider, a 190-pounder from Ponderosa, is a more confident wrestler this season.
Hoffschneider lost last season in the 182-pound state championship match as a sophomore and is looking forward to post-season matches in February.
“I definitely have more confidence because last year was my first year going to state so I didn’t know what to expect,” said Hoffschneider after a Jan. 26 dual meet against Legend. “Now I know what it is going to be like.
“My hope this year is just getting to the finals match at state and winning it instead of losing like I did last year. That was a tough pill to swallow. It has definitely helped me this year because I don’t want to feel like that ever again.”
Hoffschneider has been doing well so far this season and is the No. 1 190-pound wrestler in the OnTheMat rankings.
“I lost a couple matches early on in the season at the national tournaments,” he said. “Other than that things are going good. Over the summer I wrestled freestyle and Greco in Fargo. It definitely made me a lot tougher because I wrestled 60 matches in four days.
“It was a close match,” Hoffschneider added referring to a 4-1 loss to Monarch’s Cole Carlucci last season in the state finals. “I was hurt most of the year too so I was just getting my gas tank back. I feel my technique was a little off but it is now a lot better.”
Hoffschneider and the Mustangs are seeking to improve at the state tournament after finishing second to Pomona three of the past four seasons.
Last season Ponderosa led by 37.5 points heading into the final day of the tournament but Pomona racked up 63 points in the consolation matches and the Mustangs had to settle for the runner-up trophy again.
Hoffschneider is one of five Ponderosa wrestlers ranked No. 1 in Colorado by OnTheMat this season.
Tommy Verrette is No. 1 at 126 pounds, Jacob Myers at 132 pounds, Brandon Cannon at 138 pounds and Ty Eise, a state runner up last season, at 175 pounds.
“We’re hoping we can beat Pomona and take them down, finally,” said Hoffschneider. “It will be pretty tough because we are missing some weighs because kids are getting injured.
“It’s going to take some kids to step up at every weight. We put seven in the finals last year. We need to put eight or nine or seven again. We have to work hard in practice, try to get better and never expect to go out there and lose.”
Hoffschneider said he has been wrestling for 11 years and still loves the sport.
“It is fun especially when you win a lot,” he concluded. “You lose, you kind of get down on yourself and you don’t like it as much. When you get to those great matches and win those close matches against a kid you’re not suppose to beat, it’s the best in the world.”