Colorado USA Wrestling State Chairman
Colorado USA Wrestling held its inaugural Annual Recognition Banquet & Foundation on Wednesday, December 27th at Sky Sox Stadium in Colorado Springs. The room was packed with great athletes and coaches. It was a great way to recognize many of our talented Colorado wrestlers as well as kick off the Foundation to subsidize Colorado's National Teams.
The evening started off with a happy hour followed by a catered dinner. Joe Betterman, CUSAW Chairman, jumped right in to announce the kickoff of the Foundation. The goal for this foundation is to raise enough money to send the Colorado National Teams to nationals and eventually to be able to support World Teams members as well. Paul Trygstad, CUSAW Mat Officials Director, talked about the importance of a foundation such as this. He was a driving force in helping get this Foundation started, the first of its kind for CUSAW.
Guest speaker, Robby Smith, 2016 US Olympian and 4x US World Team member, emphasized the importance of a Foundation such as this. He shared that he would not have had as many opportunities as he did at a young age had California not had such a great Foundation for providing funding to it's young and talented wrestlers. Robby had nothing but praise for his time in Colorado and specifically at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He now considers Colorado his home, as does Joe.
The standing ovation of the night came when Aaden Valdez, a sophomore at Pueblo East, was awarded with the Perseverance Award. Aaden was seriously injured in a fireworks accident on the 4th of July this year where he suffered the loss of most of his fingers on his left hand and his left eye. Just 6 weeks following this life changing injury, Aaden was back on the wrestling mat working harder than ever and setting the bar high for those around him. Not only did he make an amazing return to the mat, placing 2nd at the East Invitational and 3rd at the Old Chicago NCCT, he has proven that he will be a contender for a state title at 138 pounds. Aaden was a member of the Colorado National Team and would have been an All American, if not a Champion in Fargo. He will definitely get his chance as he was also awarded a full scholarship to attend the 2018 Fargo Nationals. There is no doubt that Aaden was deserving of this recognition and everyone who was there was honored to be a part of it.
There were many teams and organizations well represented during the evening including Sons of Thunder, Steel City Elite, Olympian Wrestling, Betterman Elite, Bear Cave and Mile High.
The awards continued for the next hour, recognizing champions in each of the age grouped categories; Intermediate, Novice, Schoolboy/Girl, Cadet and Junior. Some of our Cadet, Schoolboy, Junior and Senior World Team Members that were recognized were: Malik Heinselman - 8th at UWW Junior Worlds, Ryan Deakin - 2nd at UWW Junior Worlds, Maya Nelson - 1st at UWW Junior Worlds, G'Angelo Hancock - 7th at UWW Junior Worlds, Ben Provisor - Senior World Team Member and 2012 & 2016 US Olympian, Cohlton Schultz - 1st UWW Cadet Worlds, Adeline Gray - 3rd at Women's World Cup, Angel Rios - 1st at Cadet Pan-Am Championships, Vance VomBauer - 1st at Schoolboy Pan-Am Championships, Cody Pfau - Junior World Team Member, Alex Mossing - 1st at UWW University Nationals and Josh Mossing - 7th at UWW University Nationals.
The awards kept coming. Congratulations to the following wrestlers:
Intermediate: Thomas Verrette, Chris LaLonde, Derek Barrows, Gavin Weichelt, Dominic Cordray
Novice: Garrett Reece, Faith Tarrant, Shayla Gallegos, Zao Estrada, Alexis Segura
Schoolboy/Girl: Morgan Johnson, Kobi Johnson, Vance VomBauer, Max Black, Dominic Hargrove, Victor Madrid, Cayden Condit
Cadet: Miles Beam, Jett Strickenberger, Jaslynn Gallegos, Tristan Kelly
Junior: Brendon Garcia, Jerzie Estrada, Kaden Campbell, Patrick Allis
Congratulations to Chad Cox for winning the Jordan Burroughs signed wrestling shoes in the amount of $275.00!
Joe and the entire CUSAW Board would like to thank the following:
Skysox Manager/Special Events Coordinator – Brien Smith
Skysox Catering Director/Executive Director – Chris Evans
Skysox Bartender/CUSAW Board Member – Deanna Betterman
Glassical Designs for the amazing job they did on our awards
Dan Rosales (Lincoln High School Wrestling Coach) for being a great DJ
Jordan Burroughs for being gracious enough to sign shoes for the silent auction
Joe would like to extend a special thank you to all of the CUSAW Board Members who helped to make this event a success!
“I am very happy with how the event turned out and look forward to doing more things to recognize our great athletes. This is only the beginning for CUSAW, now that we have kicked off our foundation, we must push harder than ever to raise money for these kids and reach our goal of $100,000.00 to subsidize national team trips.” – Joe Betterman – CUSAW State Chairman
This was the inaugural night for this event and it will only grow as more and more athletes keep training for the National level. There are already plans in the works for next year's event. For more information or volunteer opportunities, feel free to contact Joe Betterman or Paul Trygstad.