High school wrestlers make college plans

It's been three years since Roman Gutierrez has watched any of his wrestlers move on past high school.

This all changed today when seniors Mark Hastings and Kyle Kostur signed letters of intent with the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

The two state champions mulled much of the spring as to which university they would attend and both finally chose UNC because of its close proximity to Craig.

"The main thing I'm concerned about is a kid goes on to get his education and maybe occasionally comes back and says 'hi,'" Gutierrez said. "But it's great these guys have decided to make the commitment they have."

The last wrestler Gutierrez sent to the college ranks was Kortney Lake, who graduated in 1999. Lake wrestled a year at Adams State College in Alamosa before going on mission. Five years before Lake, Jake Timmer wrestled for Fort Hays State in Fort Hays, Kan.

The lack of recent wrestlers going off to college has baffled Gutierrez, who said his program has produced college-caliber talent. He also said he could understand, in some respects, why wrestlers choose not to continue their careers.

"It's a big commitment to go into college wrestling," he said "A lot of the kids who wrestled in high school reach their goals and don't want to make the commitment to the college level."

Both Hastings and Kostur looked at a number of colleges from around the nation. With Kostur considering North West Community College in Powell, Wyo., and Western State College in Gunnison.

"UNC just seemed like a better fit for me than those other two schools," Kostur said.

Hastings said he looked at Indiana University and Cleveland State before deciding on UNC. Both of the mid-western schools Hastings looked at are NCAA Division One colleges.

"I felt it was a better idea to stay closer to friends and family," Hastings said. "And being that far away would have been tougher than it seemed."

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