Jaguars Wrestlers Begin Season With A New CoachNov 14, 2014 02:12PM ● By Greg James
West Jordan High School’s new wrestling coach, Val Rauser, wrestled at Utah Valley University for 2 ½ years before he was forced to retire after a bout with ulcerative colitis. Photo courtesy of UVU athletics
Val Rauser, West Jordan High School’s new wrestling coach, is from Townsend, Mont., a small town south of Helena. He has a resume of success as a collegiate and high school wrestler.
“I am excited to be here, and we really want these kids to qualify for state. I really think we have a few kids that have potential to get there. When I was hired, we talked about building the program and getting West Jordan wrestling to where it was [in the late 80s], a Top Five team in the state. Slowly, we are going to get there,” Rauser said.
West Jordan has seen a decline in the number of wrestlers in recent years. Rauser said he hopes to encourage student athletes to participate.
Jaguar seniors Caleb Gerber and Nick Despain and junior Austin Peterson gained experience last season wrestling in varsity matches. Rauser said they have the potential to have an impact on the region.
At the preseason open workouts, about 20 wrestlers participated. Rauser said after football season ends he expects the numbers to increase.
“We have been working on the basics. It has been good for the more experienced kids to review. I really think having fun is important. These wrestlers need to know how to take criticism and learn from it. By working hard, we will all get better. I want 100 percent from every workout we do,” he said.
“I work full-time in Orem and come up to West Jordan to help these kids get better. This is my first high school head coaching job. I think the school has been supportive to see where we can take the program,” Rauser said. “We all want to do well. I want these kids to succeed.”
The Jaguars begin their season Dec. 5-6 at the Layton Invitational.