COLORADO SPRINGS - To suggest that Tim Yount is passionate about high school wrestling is missing the mark.
He’s downright loony.
“I’ve been watching the sport for 43 years of my life,” said Yount, 47, who resides in Monument. “I know strengths, moves, tendencies. I’ve seen the changes in the sport. It’s a joy to be engaged in this sport at this level.”
Yount’s On The Mat wrestling rankings are like the BCS rankings for high school wrestlers in Colorado. He is considered the ultimate source for those seeking in depth information and the latest trends. He’s been breaking down information and delivering it to coaches, players and the media for 19 years.
“He’s called me on the phone and emailed me,” said first-year Palmer Ridge coach Paul Gagich. “As soon as I get the information I forward it to him and he does his magic. The time and effort he puts forward is insane.”
By day - upwards of 65 hours a week - Yount is the work-aholic Chief Operating Officer of USA Triathlon, based in the Rockrimmon area of Colorado Springs. By night - and by weekends - he is the obsessive compulsive wrestling stat junkie.
“I give every hour outside of work to this,” said Yount, who was at the Friday portion of last weekend’s Metro League Championships at Doherty. “It’s the most insane life that I have for two-and-a-half month. It’s almost like being a coach.
“I’m usually home by 7-7:30, have a quick dinner with my wife (Sarah) and two-and-a-half-year-old-old son (Samuel) and then I’m on the computer at 8 p.m. and work until midnight. And then I do it all over again the next day.”
Yount, who also keeps in shape by training 10 hours a week, will do just about anything and go anywhere to take in a good prep wrestling match. Every weekend he can be found at a tournament, talking with coaches and evaluating wrestlers. When he walks into a gymnasium he immediately commands respect. Still, there are some coaches who have yet to meet him in person.
“I don’t even know what he looks, but I know a lot about him,” said Woodland Park coach Keith Sieracki, a two-time United States Greco-Roman champion. “He seems to be pretty spot-on. His rankings give us an assessment of what we’re getting into. When he ranks a guy in the top 10 he’s probably a pretty good wrestler.”
Yount is arguably the king of his high school wrestling rankings in Colorado. The Colorado High School Activities Association takes their lead from him. Yount has more information (he puts 1,600 entries into his data base each week) at his fingertips than a sane person should have within his reach. He compiles statistics, tracks trends and seeks insight from coaches on thousands of wrestlers in the state. And he does it all because he loves the sport.
“I’m fortunate that I have an understanding wife,” said Yount, who is on the road 14 to 15 times a year with USA Triathlon. “I usually do my state picks right before state. But sometimes I miss a guy.”
One of those misses is The Classical Academy junior Andrew Register. Wrestling at 145 pounds last year, Register was not picked to place (the top eight in a each weight class) as a sophomore by Yount. Register lost his first match to the No. 1 seed in Class 3A, but went on to place fifth.
“He had an incredible tournament,” said Yount, who was formerly the editor of USA Triathlon’s official membership publication from 1994-2004. “He lost like 13 times last year and I missed him. He proved me wrong.”
For the record, Yount has Register ranked third at 138 pounds in his latest poll.
Yount would like to see the sport grow. He envisions a state team dual meet wrestling tournament so that a true champion can be crowned.
“It could take place the last weekend in January or first week in February,” he said. “Two weeks later you would have the state tournament, which is all about individuals.
“Sixteen states have a dual team championships now. Colorado needs to get on board.”
Sieracki, a native of Wisconsin and former high school state champion, likes the idea.
“They do it in Wisconsin and I love it,” he said. “I’d like to be in the mix for things. I think we could be a top eight team next year.
“If you are an individual you want to get as much wrestling as possible. A state dual meet would give you a fresh look at who you’ll see at state two weeks later.”
To subscribe to Yount’s rankings, go to www.cowrestling.com.