Wrestling is a tough sport and even tougher if you have a small program. I recently got a chance to sit down and chat with Roy Gollobith about the struggles that small programs face and things they do to overcome the challenges. Coach Gollobith is the head wrestling coach for the North Park Wildcats. This year’s wrestling team is made up of 3 wrestlers. 2 seniors and one junior this year and even though their team is small and wrestling partners are limited they have every intention of heading into this season with grit and determination.
Coach Gollobith moved to Walden Co. in 1988. He wrestled in Wellington during his junior high years and spent a couple of years wrestling for Poudre High School. When asked if he had been a varsity wrestler, he kind of laughed and said” I never won a wrestle off”. He continued on to say, he had to work in the summer and those other guys wrestled. In 1992, Coach Steve Richter a beloved math teacher and Wrestling coach got the North Park wrestling program up and running. A program that had been nonexistent for several years until Coach Richter stepped in. His desire to keep the program going led him to collecting cans and doing odd jobs to keep the program afloat. Unfortunately at the time there was no money in the schools budget for a wrestling program. Coach Gollobith’s son took an interest in wanting to wrestle in the youth program and a relationship developed between Coach Richter and Coach Gollobith that eventually led to Coach Gollobith taking over the program when Coach Richter left Walden around 2001. North Park has a Youth, middle and high school program. Currently the youth program has around 30 kids, when middle school starts that number starts to dwindle and Coach Gollobith expects maybe 6 or 7 in the room. Currently the high school program has 3 wrestlers. When asked why he thought those numbers fell off so drastically, Coach Gollobith attributed some of it to the work you have to put into wrestling and the fact it gets a lot tougher and your commitment to the sport has higher expectations. He also sides with the fact that North Park has a love of basketball and many kids choose that sport over wrestling. With a small town and one school housing k-12 the wrestling pool as the kids get older gets slimmer and slimmer. “What are some of the things you do to get your wrestlers the experience and workouts needed to be successful in this sport, I asked Coach Gollobith?” His reply, “CHSAA allows small teams to travel to other teams to get some practice time and workouts with some other partners closer to their own weight”. As some already know, travelling anywhere to practice with another team means at least a two hour round trip and that’s if the weather is cooperative. He also says when they have practice they go hard each and every time, knowing they aren’t getting that weight equivalent practice partner. Currently the 3 wrestlers for the Wildcats Destry, Eli and Cordell are wrestling 126,160 and 220 weight class. “What do you personally do to stay on top of this ever changing sport and being able to teach new moves and so forth?.” Coach Gollobith says he attends clinics in the off season and attended one this summer at the “School of Mines” and this year he’s also excited to combine some of the old with the new by having Lane Martindale in the room as an assistant coach. Martindale a graduate in 2018 wrestled for Soroco and has a lot to bring to the table in the Wildcats wrestling room. The Wildcats don’t have team dual meets but instead travel to tournaments every weekend to get some much needed mat time. The positives of having a small program Coach Gollobith says,” You know everyone in the room is there to work and you don’t have a team of 15 to 20 wrestlers who aren’t all putting in the same effort.” “The negative is definitely not having the workout partners for his wrestlers especially come time for Regionals.”
Times have evolved where the wrestling program is concerned and its now provided monetary support by the administration. The Arts Council also held a fundraiser in the past to get the wrestling program new mats and the Wildcats currently use the old elementary school cafeteria as a wrestling room. Over the years Coach Gollobith has had 5 State placers and 29 State qualifiers. That may seem like a small number but considering an average of 2 to 3 wrestlers each year in the program that number is at the top of the charts. When youth season and calving season collide Coach Gollobith has a great group of dads who step up. Coach Gollobith feels very fortunate to work for Silver Spur Lone Pine Ranch as they have always supported him when it comes to coaching and wrestling season. When asked what he would tell someone struggling with a small program or just starting is “Sometimes the numbers you have aren’t the numbers you want. But you have to do the best that you can with what you have”. The 3 wrestlers in the room enjoy the friendships with having a small team but definitely wish they had wrestling partners their own weight. Having a small program means Coach Gollobith stays in shape as well, seeing as he spends a lot of time wrestling with the team. Coach Gollobith pledges “As long as there is one kid that wants to wrestle I will be in the wrestling room and on the mat”.“ I’ll always do the best I can” Small programs continue to struggle and find ways to offset what they lack in the wrestling room but at the end of the day it still comes down to the “Heart of a Wrestler”.
Melanie Johnson- MileHigh Prep Report