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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Running helps Parker High soph wrestler Herder succeedNov 29, 2012
By Don Ketchum
The Southwest Showdown Invitational on Friday (Nov. 30) and Saturday (Dec. 1) at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix will feature some of the state’s top wrestlers.
One of the best also is one of the youngest – Parker High sophomore Aaron Herder.
As a freshman, he finished second at 106 pounds in the Division IV state tournament. This season, he has moved up to 120 pounds and has a 7-1 record, although once January arrives, he likely will go to 113 so he can prepare for the state meet in February.
“I wanted to go up to 120 so I could compete against some of the bigger, stronger guys. I figured that would help me,’’ said Herder.
He also attended four wrestling camps during the summer, which helped, according to Parker coach David Daly.
And there is the running. Herder also is on Parker’s cross country team, and finished 58th out of 156 runners at the recent state meet at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix.
“Every time I look around, he seems to be running,’’ Daly said. “I think he does at least 2 miles a day.’’
Herder said he “probably wouldn’t be as good in wrestling if I didn’t also run. It helps a lot with my endurance. As far as cross country goes, I already was doing some running, so I figured I might as well do it to be competitive.’’
Said Daly: “It’s part of his great work ethic, particularly for a student his age. He is always doing things to improve.’’
Daly added that Herder also is a vocal leader both on the mat and in the overall school setting.
Herder is in his second year on the student council, and he is the sophomore class president.
His grade-point average is above 3 (out of 4), and his favorite subject is math, “because it is challenging and makes you use your head.’’
Does using his head also apply to the mat? Can he be considered a “thinking man’s wrestler?’’
“I go into a match blank,’’ he said. “If you think about it too much, you can get in trouble. You are kind of wasting time.’’
He has been wrestling since an early age. His father, Harlan, was a wrestler at Monument Valley High in Kayenta. The family moved to Parker when Aaron was 3. He also has a younger brother and sister.
“When I first started out, it was definitely a hard sport,’’ Aaron said. “But I never thought about quitting. I enjoyed the physical and mental toughness that wrestling demands. It also relieves stress.’’
It seems, however, that there is nothing more stressful than being in the middle of a close match.
Herder seldom waits around to see what his opponent will do.
“I want to make the wrestler wrestle my match,’’ he said. “If it comes to that, I will adjust and defend against his moves. But basically, what I want to do is exploit his weaknesses.’’
He took that approach as a freshman, is doing so again this season and will in his next two years. So unless you are an opponent and he has you under control with his firm grip, sit back and enjoy watching this young man.