Take one look at Lane Hanson now, as a 106-pound junior, and from when he first started wrestling for Evergreen High School a couple of years back as a 90-pound soaking-wet freshman, and one can tell the difference.
It might be sleight of eye at first glance, but Hanson’s mentality has improved. He’s more aggressive on the mat, as opposed to being timid as a freshman, and he shoots a lot.
“Last year, there wasn’t anybody that he didn’t take down,” Evergreen head coach Lane Williams said. “It was just him finishing matches. That was his weak spot last year. That’s what we’re looking at improving on this year.”
In other words, Hanson will be out to score more points and get more pins with the 2013-14 wrestling season right around the corner. He’ll have to as a leader for the Cougars, taking over from last season with the graduation of Jake Kay.
Last year, Kay served as a mentor of sorts for Hanson. The three-time state qualifier guided his younger teammate, while working on his own agenda to place at state. Their workmanlike effort in the wrestling room transferred to success on the mat.
“I’ve improved a lot from my freshman year,” Hanson said. “Jake really helped me, teaching me how to be a captain. I hope to follow him as a role model and to be a good captain this year.”
He’ll have his work cut out for him on that front. Of Evergreen’s 12 wrestlers, eight are freshmen. That’s a lot of first-year wrestlers, but it wasn’t all that long ago — two years to be exact — that Hanson was in their shoes. That’s why having someone like Kay to mentor him was so important.
Last season, Hanson served as somewhat of an apprentice under Kay. While he was helping out his teammate in the wrestling room to gain valuable practice time en route to Kay placing sixth at the 4A state tournament, Hanson was getting hands-on experience of being a leader.
Hanson says he wouldn’t be as far along with his wrestling career now if it wasn’t for Kay.
“I used Jake to really push myself and to get me to thinking about doing moves,” Hanson said. “I couldn’t do that without him helping me.”
“He sought Jake out, looking for the opportunity to wrestle with him,” Williams said. “He would learn from him and get better. It showed. He really improved from his freshman year to his sophomore year. I can’t wait to watch him on the mat this year. Twenty-five wins shouldn’t be out of the question.”
If he wins that many, then qualifying for state shouldn’t be a problem. That’s Hanson’s main goal and one that Williams sees as within reach this season.
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.
Weight class: 106 pounds
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning
Favorite sports team: Denver Broncos
What’s on the iPod? Country music
Where do you hope to be in 10 years? “Running my dad’s business,” Hanson said. His dad, Todd Hanson, owns Evergreen Excavating.
Head coach: Lane Williams
Assistant coaches: Andrew Spears, Brad Kay, Aleisha Lemons
Conference: 4A Jeffco League
Wrestlers to watch for: Alex Baker, Fr., 126 pounds; Tim Farver, Jr., 132; Lane Hanson, 106, Jr.
Key losses: Jake Kay, Triston Tucker
2012-13 recap: Last season can be summed up in two words — Jake Kay. The entire year, including who Evergreen wrestled, was centered on trying to not only get the senior 126-pounder to state but to place there. He did what he had to do by winning another league title, placing third at regionals and taking sixth place at state.
Outlook: This year may be a building year for Evergreen, but, if things fall into place, it could pay off dividends in the future. Of the 12 wrestlers the Cougars have on their roster, eight are freshmen. That may not result in success early on, which is why EHS has a handful of JV tournaments scheduled with the hope of gaining success at the lower level before moving up to stiffer varsity competition. Besides experience the team lacks size. The Cougars have only one wrestler in the upper weights. Everybody else hovers around 135 or lower. That will make for good in-room competition, but not much success in team competition.