Head’s in the air, but Pine Creek’s Wenger stays grounded


CAON CITY – Dad coaches the Wings of Blue parachute team at the Air Force Academy. Mom boasts more than 2,000 jumps on her resume. And a few weeks ago, Pine Creek junior Jason Wenger made his first solo flight.

So it’s little wonder insiders feel the sky is the limit for Wenger, who on Saturday won the 112-pound championship at the 17th annual Caon City Invitational.

Ranked third in Class 4A by the “On the Mat” publication, Wenger (22-0) pinned Durango’s Vernon Anthony in 3:48 to claim his third tournament title this season.

Burlington took top honors in the 15-team tournament, with Pine Creek fourth as the top area team. Host Caon City was fifth.

Other individual winners from the area were Wasson’s Erik Talmich at 125 and Lewis-Palmer’s David Barringer at 140.

Wenger, who as a sophomore qualified for state and finished 31-9 as a 103-pounder, breezed through four matches.

“He’s put in the time to get the wins,” said Eagles coach Brian Naegely, who started the school’s wrestling program six years ago. “He worked all summer, attended camps. He’s a leader on the mat. Not much excites him. He loves to win, but he doesn’t show it that much. A state title is his goal, and it’s obtainable.”

A cool head has served Wenger well, not only on the mat, but also in the sky. He’s following in his dad’s footsteps by pursing a career as a pilot.

His father, Bill Wenger, besides coaching sky divers, is a veteran pilot and an assistant wrestling coach at Pine Creek. His mom, Pat, was on two national-level parachute teams.

“I love flying because I’d always go up with him when he’d go,” said Wenger, who’s also on a local paintball team. “They were offering a class at our school where you go do things that you want to do in the future. I want to fly, so I talked the principal and teachers into letting me fly for my first-period class.”

Wasson’s Talmich stunned Centauri’s top-seeded Jacob Sheridan with a fall in the 125-pound title match.

Lewis-Palmer’s Barringer ran his record to 25-1 by pinning Lamar’s Tress Gadash in the 140-pound final.

Last year, Barringer broke his neck late in the season. Without knowing the extent of the injury, he competed and placed third at regionals. A CAT scan before the state tourney, though, revealed a fracture which prevented Barringer from competing.

“I’m looking to win it this year,” he said. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I’m as good as the those guys. I’ve been training really hard. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. three of the five schools days, go down to Bally’s and work out with a personal trainer there for an hour and a half.”

CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0250 or sports@gazette.com

Copyright 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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