HARD WORK, NO EXCUSES: Miners find success with new coach, new mantra | TheUnion.com

HARD WORK, NO EXCUSES: Miners find success with new coach, new mantra

The team mantra is simple and straight to the point. "Hard work, no excuses."

That's the mindset first year head coach George Woodward wants his athletes to have as he builds a new foundation for the Nevada Union wrestling program.

"Just get out there and work hard," Woodward said. "This is a sport that even if you don't excel and become a champion on the mat, you can become a champion at life with the lessons this sport teaches you. Perseverance, integrity, hard work, accountability. Those are things I think a lot of people are lacking and they can get it here."

Woodward, the team's third head coach in the last four years, said this year's group of grapplers has taken the team mantra to heart.

"The kids are buying into that mantra — work hard, no excuses" Woodward said. "Just work hard and do what it takes to get it done. That's not just on the wrestling mat, it's with their school work too."

Woodward said the program has a good base to work from, citing a high-quality staff of assistant coaches and a roster filled with young talent and strong senior leaders.

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Nevada Union's Robert Jeanson, who pinned his Rocklin opponent in the 138-pound weight class on Senior Night Wednesday, is one of the team's senior captains and one of their stronger competitors. He said he appreciates the new team mantra.

"That's always been part of my mentality," he said. "I usually don't have excuses and I always work hard."

In his senior season, Jeanson has fared well at tournaments with multiple second place finishes.

Hayden Lee is another strong competitor and team leader for the Miners. The junior who competes at 170-pounds has garnered several top-five finishes at tourneys this season and recently pinned a tough Rocklin opponent in a dual match.

"I was here when Hayden wrestled his freshmen year and his progression from his freshmen year to now is just off the charts," Woodward said. "I'm very proud of Hayden and the maturity he's shown this year as a leader and as a wrestler on the mat. He has really matured."

At the 182-pound class, NU's Bailey Ferrier is another talented wrestler who has brought home several medals from tourneys this season, including a first place finish at the No Guts, No Glory Tournament.

"Our true varsity wrestlers have a very good chance of placing well in league and moving on to the regionals, Masters and I think we have a couple that could move on to state," Woodward said.

The last Nevada Union wrestler to reach the state championship tournament was Woodward's daughter, Fayth Woodward, in 2015.

The Miners also have a squad of talented girl grapplers, led by Arleth Sosa and Sarah Skotnicki.

Sosa, a senior and two-time Masters Tournament qualifier, has been impressive this season with multiple first and second place medals at various tournaments.

Sosa, who hopes to make it to the state championships this season, added that she has gained much more than just medals from the sport.

"What I have already gained is a good work ethic," she said. "If nothing else, you walk away from this sport headstrong and with a good work ethic. I used to get in trouble all the time, I used to pick fights with everyone and wrestling has taken me away from that."

Skotnicki has found great success in just her second season of wrestling.

Skotnicki said she tried out wrestling on a whim, and now in her second year is finding plenty of success on the mat.

"I have always played sports and I wanted a fresh start with a new sport," she said of her decision to try wrestling her freshman year. "I checked it out and it was a perfect match. It's really addictive."

The sophomore, who won only one match a season ago, has placed first in two tournaments and has several other top-five finishes already this season.

Mackenzie Morgan is another young up-and-comer for the NU girls team. The freshmen has already won a tourney title, placed second at two others and third at another.

Other strong wrestlers on NU's girls team include Hannah Nelson, Amanda Beall and Lilly Lock-Davis.

The Miners are currently working their way through the Sierra Foothill League dual season, but will also compete in several tournaments along the way, including a couple this weekend.

The SFL championships are set for Feb. 10 and will be held at Nevada Union, where the Miners will be sure to apply their mantra on the mat.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.