‘Cats honor Jim Stockert before dual
Everywhere you looked Tuesday night at Fruita Monument High School, Jim Stockert’s fingerprints were evident.
There were coaches and wrestlers on the Fruita Monument bench who Stockert coached. There were coaches on the Central bench who Stockert coached. There were even more wrestlers he influenced scattered around in the stands.
Prior to the dual, Stockert received a plaque from Fruita Monument Athletic Director Denny Squibb for his 31 years coaching the Wildcats varsity wrestling program.
“It was good to see Logan Smith, Dallas Bernal and some of those kids win,” Stockert said. “The Hicks kid. It was good to see them win.”
Several former Fruita High School state champion wrestlers were recognized with Stockert and will have their names on a banner to hang in the gym.
They are Buddy Marez (1957-58), Nick Kohls (1957-58), Jack Flasche (1959-60), Cecil Valencia (1960-61), Jim Crider (1961), Dick Hoisington (1961-62), Jim Flasche (162), Joe Silva (1963-65), Amadeo Silva (1963-64), Jim Hoisington (1963), Archie Silva (1966), Larry Reed (1968) and Clarence Ross (1968).
Former track state champion Jim Tomlinson (1956-57) was also recognized.
Stockert retired last year after 36 years of coaching. He is third on the all-time Colorado list. Stockert started his coaching career at Springfield High School and coached four years at Cedaredge High School before returning to his alma mater.
“That’s a long time,” former Fruita wrestler and assistant coach Eli Clarke said. “That seems impossible, especially in this day and age.”
Clarke wrestled for Stockert at Fruita Monument from 1998 to 2002. Clarke is an assistant coach to Dan Van Hoose on the Fruita staff this year. He’s been coaching wrestling in middle school the past seven years.
“(Stockert) always kept things fun, but you knew when it was time to go to work,” Clarke said. “My fondest memory is of practice. It wasn’t going to a certain tournament or state. It was practice, but we had a good group of kids.
“I enjoyed wrestling for Stockert and (George) Carlson.”
Stockert led the Wildcats to one team state title. He had 12 individual state champions, 70 state medalists and was the 1982 CHSAA coach of the year. He led the Wildcats to 20 top-three finishes at regionals and had 22 top three regional finishes in his 36 years. He will receive a CHSAA Level 5 achievement award in March in Denver.
Stockert, though, hasn’t completely stepped aside from coaching.
He is helping his oldest son, Brandon, coach at West Middle School.