May 12, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff WriterA Lander eighth-grader gave his all during the wrestling season and it paid off at the state level, winning in three different styles.
De'Aundre Velarde placed first in the freestyle, Greco-Roman and folk style tournaments, earning the "triple crown" from the Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association.
"It means a lot to me," Velarde said. "I practiced really hard giving 110 percent," he said.
Velarde wrestled in the 144-pound class.
He was one of two county wrestlers to win in three categories at the statewide USA spring tournament in Casper in April.
Lander had several wrestlers in the schoolboy and cadets divisions, which are for high school-aged wrestlers.
Coach Nick Fulton said Velarde has "really improved."
"He wrestled well in all three styles," Fulton said.
Velarde, whose main sport is wrestling but who plays football as well, said he has been working out and lifting weights with high school students to stay in shape.
"(Winning in the three styles) not only gave me experience to work toward my dreams, but I learned working hard pays off," he said.
His future goal is to wrestle in high school perhaps even further.
"My future goal is to go to the Olympics," Velarde said.
For younger students wanting to wrestle, Velarde reminded them the sport is tough but to just keep pushing through.
"Remember not to quit," Velarde said. "Just keep going and go on to state."
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.