JEROME — It’s a big year for Jerome High School’s wrestling program: Four graduating seniors are all continuing on to the collegiate level.
Peyton Ringling, Jakob Murillo and Fernando Luna all signed letters of intent Monday during a joint lunchtime ceremony at the school gymnasium. Ringling and Luna are heading to Western Wyoming Community College, and Murillo is bound for Northern Michigan University Olympic Training Site’s Greco-Roman wrestling program.
Another wrestling teammate, Ezekial Williamson, signed his letter of intent in November 2018 with St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.
A crowd of more than 50 coaches, family members and friends gathered for the signing Monday.
“It’s always an honor and privilege to coach young men,” Jerome head wrestling coach Joshua Wright told the crowd.
The students exude work ethic and have overcome obstacles, Wright said, and each has a different body style.
Wrestling coaches found 240-pound Luna in the hallways at Jerome High, Wright said, and the teenager first showed up for wrestling with a bag of chips in his hands. Luna has only been wrestling since his sophomore year.
All three teens have become disciplined athletes, Wright said, adding that he’s proud of them.
“We look forward to great things from them,” he said.
As Ringling, Murillo and Luna signed their letters of intent simultaneously, a few classmates called out words of advice or encouragement from the crowd, like “woo” and “sign your lives away.” After the ceremony, the wrestlers’ family members came up to take pictures with them.
Jerome’s wrestling program is growing, Jerome High School athletic director and Vice Principal Jeremy Munroe told the Times-News. In addition to Wright, other Jerome wrestling coaches are Tj Ringling and Ted Larsen.
Murillo told the Times-News he got started with the Greco-Roman style of wrestling when he was in eighth grade and he “caught on really quick.” He said he has greatly enjoyed it and had success at the national level.
After doing well at a national tournament his sophomore year, “I knew I had the potential to keep growing,” he said.
Murillo said Northern Michigan will be good for him and will allow him to grow in his wrestling career. “I think it’s going to make me a better man,” he said.
For the 17-year-old Ringling, the opportunity to go to Western Wyoming is a chance to advance not only with wrestling but also academically. He plans to study computer science.
“I know being there is going to make me a better person,” he told the Times-News.
As for his time in Jerome, getting a new coach in his sophomore year was huge,he said, adding it turned the program around and Jerome became a “wrestling community.”
Luna told the Times-News he initially didn’t want to pursue wrestling in college.
“I didn’t think I ever could,” he said.
But Luna had success at state wrestling tournaments.
“If you really do work hard, you really can do anything,” he said.
After Ringling went to check out Western Wyoming, Ringling’s father encouraged Luna to visit as well. Luna said he likes the fact he’ll be at school and in the wrestling program with Ringling so he’s not alone and it will feel more familiar.
Luna wants to become a physical therapist. After his time in Wyoming, he plans to transfer to Idaho State University to continue his education.