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Clear Creek senior Kamron Brewer didn’t do anything last winter, saying he got “fat and lazy.”

This winter’s been a completely different story, though, as Brewer placed first at the Dec. 11 Wheat Ridge wrestling tournament.

“I need wrestling,” he said. “I would be bored without it.”

Clear Creek wrestling has returned this winter, after the program was unable to have a 2020-21 season. Thus, the Wheat Ridge tournament was the Golddiggers’ first competition since the Feb. 2020 state championships.

Along with Brewer taking first in the 145-pound weight class, fellow seniors Michael Hillman and Nick Baker also placed. Hillman placed second in 160, while Baker placed fourth in 120.

Clear Creek has 17 wrestlers this year, but only four are upperclassmen. Coach Danion Baca thought Clear Creek’s juniors and seniors did well at the Wheat Ridge tournament, considering they haven’t wrestled in nearly two years.

“Most of them didn’t do any other sports last year,” Baca said. “They were pretty upset, because they didn’t get to have a wrestling season.”

Junior Evan Brandt, who wrestles in the 145-pound weight class, said he was excited to jump right into the season and set an example for the younger wrestlers.

Brandt said he loves that wrestling isn’t a team sport in the traditional sense, commenting, “If I lose, it’s on me.”

Brewer also enjoys the sport’s individual focus, saying he likes how a match usually comes down to which wrestler wants it more.

“It’s good to be back,” Brewer said of wrestling. “I missed it for sure.”

Proving ground

Most of Clear Creek’s freshmen and sophomores have never wrestled before. So, with only a month of practice under the proverbial belts, the Wheat Ridge tournament was a good learning experience, Baca described.

“They were definitely really nervous,” he said, “but I think after a couple got their first wins, they settled down a little bit.”

Ultimately, sophomores Isaiah Jenkins and Silas Gilda placed first and second, respectively, in the 285-pound weight class.

How these younger wrestlers will do this season is ultimately up to them, Baca explained. Maybe they’ll pick things up quickly; maybe they won’t.

“Someday, it just clicks and everything starts working for them,” he continued, adding that some Golddiggers have experienced that already.

Sophomore A.J. Frei, who’s competing in the 138-pound weight class, is a first-time wrestler. About 20 minutes after his inaugural match, Frei described how it was initially very close, but he grew tired and ultimately lost.

“It was harder than I thought it was going to be,” he said.

Frei said he wasn’t planning to wrestle until this year, and he appreciated how it was motivating him to stay in shape and eat healthy.

“I like the family that we have, how we’re able to connect,” he said of the wrestling program.

Brandt, who has been wrestling since third-grade, commented that he’s looking forward to sharing his experience and advice with Clear Creek’s younger wrestlers.

Based on what he’s seen in practice and in the first few matches of the Dec. 11 tournament, Brandt said he believes they have a lot of potential.

“I want to show them what it really takes,” he continued, “and what you get out of it when you try.”