Although still early in the season, three Mingus Union High School wrestlers have already competed in their final matches on home turf.
Nick Doerksen, Lucas Svoboda and Jay Martinez, along with team manager Ashley Wingfield, were honored during a four-team dual meet on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Doerksen and Svoboda went undefeated on that day, competing in the 160- and 152-pound weight classes, respectively, against opponents from Prescott High School, Mayer High School and Blue Ridge High School.
As a team, the Marauders beat Mayer 72-0 and Blue Ridge 66-12 before losing to Prescott 42-28.
Doerksen, often referred to as “Alaska” since moving here from the Land of the Midnight Sun, is a four-year wrestler. Head coach Klint McKean described him as more of a methodical wrestler. This season he has begun to use his strength, which has helped him be a better wrestler than he was to this point last season.
McKean called him and sophomore Michael Thurman the most improved so far this year.
“Nick is more of a lead-by-example [leader], he’s more soft-spoken but he makes every practice, he’s attentive. He shows the wrestlers what to do just through his actions,” McKean said. “If you look at him he looks really strong, and he is, but he doesn’t always use that strength. This year he’s really starting to, and that’s what’s helped him break through.”
Doerksen qualified for last year’s Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III meet, but came up short of placing. This year, McKean said, he is better standing up, on top and on bottom, putting him on track to place at state.
“I realized how much I have improved with so many moves and everything, so I’m really pleased with how I’ve done throughout the years,” said Doerksen, adding that his goals are to win a tournament and get as far as possible at state.
Svoboda was state runner-up last year as a 145-pounder, getting pinned with less in the final minute. The two-year Marauder, who also moved in from out of state, eclipsed the 100-win mark on Nov. 24 at the Verde Duals.
As a wrestler, McKean said that he likely has the best double-leg takedown in the state, and is explosive on his feet.
“Obviously with Lucas’ credentials and his athleticism, the younger wrestlers look up to him, but he’s really become a vocal leader too this year. He spent the entire summer vacation at the National Guard boot camp,” McKean said. “He’s really a great leader to have.”
Martinez has been a mostly part-time wrestler due to his involvement in the fire science academy, McKean said.
During the final home meet of his career, Doerksen said he was nothing but excited.
“I knew I was going to be going up against some pretty good wrestlers but I knew some friends and family came to watch me so I was really excited,” he said. “I did good, there were a few things I didn’t capitalize on, but overall I was pretty pleased with how I wrestled.”
Svoboda said he was sad but happy. Despite it being just his second year in the Mingus program, he still hopes to leave a mark on it.
“Hopefully I leave a huge impact on some of the younger kids,” Svoboda said. “Some of them come up to me and they ask me questions about all my takedowns .... some of them come and watch me too, so it’s nice that they know, but I also hope it’s a learning experience for them, too, to get to watch the older wrestlers.”