Segar Oliver will leave his mark at Cortez Middle School as the first and only wrestler to win a Colorado state championship for the Jaguars.
After placing fourth last year at state as a seventh-grader, Oliver set a goal to win a state championship at 140 pounds in his final year at CMS.
Last Saturday, Oliver faced the best 140-pound middle school wrestlers Colorado had to offer. One by one, Oliver knocked them down at the National Western Stock Show Complex in Denver to finish the day 5-0 and a state champion.
Everyone you wrestle is tough because theyre at state and they qualified, so you got a good challenge, Oliver said.
Oliver feels it was midway through his final middle school season that his goal of being a state champion could become reality. He was undefeated in the regular-season and had two top-3 finishes in off-season national wrestling tournaments.
I was really on top of my game through the whole year, Oliver said.
Olivers eighth-grade season has been an exceptional one. In addition to a state championship, Oliver wrestled at an off-season tournament in January in Arizona where he defeated the two-time defending 140-pound Arizona state champion, 7-6. In March, Oliver placed second at Rocky Mountain Nationals in Denver after finishing sixth in seventh-grade. The major national tournaments greatly prepared Oliver for state.
Its definitely even tougher than the middle school state (tournament), because kids all over the nation go to those, Oliver said about off-season tournaments.
Since sixth-grade, parents Rodney and Becky Oliver have been taking Segar to Rocky Mountain Nationals and other major tournaments.
The parents are the driving force. Theyre willing to put out the money and travel to all these tournaments. A lot of credit goes to the parents, Rodney and Becky, for all the support they give him, CMS wrestling coach Thad Koppenhafer said.
The CMS coaching staff has enjoyed having Segar Oliver on the team and feel his presence will surely be missed both on and off the mat.
Segar is just an exceptional kid. He carries As and Bs all season. Just a real hard working kid, CMS assistant coach Jason Higgins said. Hes going to be one of the outstanding kids in the high school next year. Really hard worker. A lot of kids look up to him.
He puts a lot of effort in, Koppenhafer said about Segar Oliver. He always puts a lot of leadership in, in the wrestling room. Its his effort on his part and wrestling in tournaments outside of school. Hes been working with the high school coach in open practices to get ready. He worked really hard to get there. Im going to miss him being a leader. He set this goal last year and made it happen.
Segar Oliver is also very appreciative of his CMS coaches.
Thad and Jason helped me a lot all through middle school. Theyre really good coaches, he said. Thad drove up to Denver to help me wrestle (at state) up there, too. He coached me up there (last year) and Jason this year at state. They helped me a lot through middle school.
Its off to Montezuma-Cortez High School next year. Segar Oliver has already been preparing for the next level with M-CHS coach Eric Smith. Although Segar will just be a freshman, he feels hes ready for the next wrestling chapter in his life.
Just (try) not to get pinned, I guess, Segar Oliver said about wrestling in high school with a laugh. I want to make it to, hopefully, state next year, to qualify for it. Thats just one of my major goals for freshman (year).
With the valuable guidance of the CMS wrestling coaches, the greatest support has came from mom and dad.
Yeah, my mom and dad have helped me get to all the big national tournaments and supported me a lot, Segar said about his parents. Through all my wins and losses, even if I did lose, they were very supportive of me. They helped me a lot to stay on top of stuff.
Segar Oliver finished the middle school regular and post-season undefeated this year, including a 4-0 regional championship at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.
Segars younger brother, Parker Oliver, wrestled this season at 95 pounds and qualified for state where he went 3-2. Parker will be in eighth-grade next year, so there will be plenty of wrestling to go around with the Olivers for the next few years.
We just really want to thank theses three coaches, Thad, Jason and Eric Smith. Theyve spent a lot of extra time, Rodney Oliver said. Without good coaching, you know, its hard to go anywhere. Those guys have really stepped up and really helped our boys out a lot.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at [email protected]