Craig In wrestling, there is a specialized move for almost any situation or preference.
For Moffat County High School senior Scott Mann, there’s one he calls his favorite.
Popularized by 1972 Olympic silver medalist Rich Sanders, the Sanders’ Cradle is the preferred way Mann, who has 21 pins on the season, finishes an opponent.
“A lot of people try to rush it and do it wrong,” Mann said. “It comes pretty easily to me, and the majority of my pins have been from this move.”
Facing his opponent on his feet, Mann lets them sneak in.
Hip-to-hip, Mann then “grapevines,” or wraps one of his legs around his opponent’s.
“You thread your right leg in and reach over the top and grab their far ankle,” he said.
Mann then grabs his opponent while his opponent still thinks he can score a takedown.
“You keep their head right on your hip, nice and tight, so it baits them in,” he said. “They think that they’re in a good position. But you’re really just setting them up.”
When Mann makes his move, he grabs his opponent by the leg and rolls them over.
Mann finishes the move on his back while his opponent’s arms and legs are wrapped up.
“You reach over the top with your right arm and grab their right heal,” Mann said. “And that’s all she wrote.”
Mann, 17, has had a successful senior season.
Wrestling in both the 171- and 160-pound weight classes, Mann has compiled a 27-12 record to go along with his 21 pins. With less than a month remaining in his high school wrestling career, there is one thing on his mind.
“I have to place in top four at the regional qualifier,” he said. “The regional tournament will be a tough one, but I have to place in the top four to get to state. Then we’ll see what happens.”
Mann, who narrowly missed a trip to state last year, said with his good season on the line, he doesn’t plan to disappoint at the Feb. 13 regional meet in Lakewood.
“No excuses,” he said. “There’s no more time — it is do or die. It’s been our goal all year, everything we’ve put in, all the time in the room — it all comes down to one week to qualify for state.”
The quest for a state title started when Mann was in third grade.
“I started wrestling because we had all those state champions,” he said. “All those guys always embraced us little kids, and we all looked up to them.”
Mann joined the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling team to emulate his high school heroes.
After his high school career is over, Mann would like to do the same.
“I want to help out with the middle schoolers, and locals like Travis Linsacum, who just started a program.”
Travis Linsacum, who was part of the three titles in the early 2000s, was someone Mann looked up to.
“It’s pretty crazy — when I was growing up those guys inspired me to wrestle,” he said. “I want to give back and help some kids out along the way. Help them learn and love the sport I love.”