PCHS’ Vera heads to state wrestling tourneyPublished 9:40pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013
by Mark Schmerling
Two years ago, as a sophomore, Polk County High School wrestler Juan Vera earned state runner-up honors.
Last year, he was hurt in the state tournament, while leading his opponent at the time 9-3, but was still a place winner, at sixth.
When the state tournament opens Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in Greensboro, the gifted and hardworking senior will be there, having qualified at last weekend’s regional tournament, even after injuring an ankle.
One of Vera’s biggest boosters is the Wolverines’ head coach, Phillip Miller.
“He’s been a heck of a high school wrestler,” Miller said. “Hopefully, he’ll be rewarded with the state title.”
As of now, Vera’s season record is 40-5, with three of those losses coming during matches during which he was injured.
“That’s pretty decent,” was Miller’s understated assessment.
At the recent regional tournament, Vera won two matches, was hurt in his semi-final meet, and lost that one, dropping to the consolation semifinals. There “he sucked it up,” said Miller, “and wrestled that kid (Grant Barnette) from West Caldwell,” defeating Barnette, and earning a slot in the state tournament.