“It was like being in a hot box,” Stec said. “It was so small and we had 14 guys in there sometimes. It got so hot so fast. I think coach would crank up the heat to 85 degrees. It certainly was no problem cutting weight. It was like a mobile home trailer.”
Suter, for his part, had to also deal with the introduction to wrestling. His father viewed “wrestling as an awesome sport.”
“Freshman year was my opportunity to get to know wrestling,” Suter said. “I was learning the sport. Sometimes, it was funny how little I knew, like how to line up during the second and third period.”
Stec and Suter became quick learners. Both are among a group of six Roadrunners slated to compete at this weekend’s Class 2A state tournament at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Before this season, Laughlin said the program had hit a max number of three state qualifiers in the nine years of varsity wrestling. Jackson Fowler (120), Anthony Greco (138), Alex Carrillo (152), Elijah Pesek (160), Suter (195) and Stec (285) all advanced to state out of the Class 2A De La Salle Sectional on Feb. 9.
“We’ve come a long ways,” Laughlin said. “Louie and Stan are the last group that had to practice in the trailer in the parking lot. It was tough for those first five years. I’m just so proud of the group. It’s a tight-knit group. They are very coachable and work hard and bought in. We just wrestled in the summer for the first time. They all had such a big impact.”