CSU-P has a long tradition of outstanding wrestling. According to Coach Shawn Brewer, “Pueblo is a hot bed for wrestling. We have some terrific high school programs, and unbelievable youth programs. Coach Doug Moses built a tremendous program here and that carried down to the younger levels.”
But how did this program rise from non-existence to hosting the national tournament and being nationally ranked in such a short time?
“It was tough that first year. If you could make weight, had the grades and the SAT scores, then you could wrestle,” says Brewer. But today it’s not that simple. Twenty-four kids are fighting for a spot in the lineup and whoever gets the nod has a chance to win their match. This competitiveness was built by recruiting the right kind of kids. They looked for quality young men who would work hard, were serious about wrestling and their education, were willing to help build a program, and were coachable.
One example of this is Bill Gray, a sophomore heavyweight who can give up an average of 40 pounds to his opponent, but is improving each and every match. “He works hard and listens to coaching.”
And what about the National Championships? Brewer says he and Dax decided to send in a bid to host and the NCAA chose them. Was it a surprise? “Not really. Maybe a little. We’ve had a great history with the NCAA. They know we are a great host city, with mild weather, close to an airport, a huge seating facility with Massari, and fantastic fan turnout. In fact, it’ll be a tough ticket to come by unless you get them early.”
In a year where CSU-P has received some national attention, Charles and Brewer have brought another level of recognition to a sport and a school that are both on the rise.