Craig When the high school wrestling season came to a close last weekend in Denver, it also meant the end of the careers of hundreds of senior wrestlers from across the state.
For Moffat County High School, it also was the last hurrah for a senior who has never competed on the mat but has nonetheless been an invaluable part of the program.
Kayla Hall has managed the Bulldogs wrestling team since before she even started at MCHS. The senior has been doing the behind-the-scenes dirty work since seventh grade.
Head coach Roman Gutierrez likes to find team managers who can stick around for several years and become proficient in their duties. So he had Hall pegged as an option early on.
“My brother was on Bad Dogs and I had (Gutierrez) as a teacher in third grade, and he told my mom once I got to middle school he was going to use me as a manager,” Hall said. “So I’ve been in line for this for awhile.”
Hall did indeed start her managerial role in middle school and has been a key cog in the wrestling team ever since. Her responsibilities included keeping stats at matches and cleaning up after every practice, but her role on the team goes far beyond chores.
“That team is like my family,” she said. “Those boys are my brothers. So a lot of it is emotional support, too. I’m so close with them, and they’ve got my back all the time.”
Hall says that family aspect has been the most important part of the job for her. The wrestling coaches and team provided a refuge for her during a difficult time in her own family life.
And while the team has been important for Hall the past six years, she has been just as important to them.
“Kayla is very dependable,” Gutierrez said. “She’s just a good kid. She’s responsible and reliable. She’ll be missed because she has been one of my better managers. The wrestlers respect that and she respects them.”
Gutierrez said Hall became so proficient in her tasks as manger that she learned to stay one step ahead. He described her as a “crutch” he could lean on to take care of whatever was needed.
Now that her time as manager is over, Hall says she will miss it a great deal, and she occasionally worries about everything being taken care of properly in her absence. But she also has plenty to look forward to.
Hall was a cheerleader for fall sports and will attend Chadron State College in Nebraska on a cheerleading scholarship starting this fall.
She may make her mark on cheerleading in the future, but there already is a void Hall is leaving behind at Moffat County wrestling.
“She’s very supportive of our sport and just a real important part of our program,” Gutierrez said.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.