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Otero Junior College hired new Head Wrestling Coach over the summer

27 Sep 2017

By Tom Blair – ICW Staff

In the sophomore year of the new wrestling program at Otero Junior College the school Athletic Director Gary Addington made changes to the wrestling coaching staff. The college has hired Matthew Paeth, as the new Head Wresting Coach.  Coach Paeth who spent last season as the assistant wrestling coach, took the helm as the new Head Coach for OJC in June.

Paeth plans for a strong transition to his new role. “I am very excited for this opportunity to lead the Otero Wrestling team. I would like to thank Administration for their continued support during this transition,” said Paeth. “My vision for this program is to produce college graduates and national champions. I want to create a culture of bringing in the right student - athletes to Otero Junior College,” Paeth explained. “I expect these students to be prepared to succeed in the class room, the community and the wrestling mat. We will maintain a culture of success, Rattler success.”

According to OJC Athletic Director Gary Addington, “Matt is bringing a great deal of coaching experience to his new position as head coach. He understands the OJC philosophy and the importance of ‘student’ first and foremost in the term student athlete.” Recruiting will be a strength for Paeth. “Matt has a national network he can utilize in the recruitment process,” explained Addington. “Also, Matt has already reached out to the area wrestling coaches to give local wrestlers the opportunity to continue their education while wrestling for OJC.  “

Paeth background in wrestling started at the age of seven. He is a four-time New York State Champion in Greco Roman wrestling and a three-time USA Wrestling All-American. While training for USA wrestling and international events, Paeth was a member of the Buffalo Wrestling Club at the University at Buffalo. He placed fourth in the 2004 Eastern US Olympic team trials.
Paeth is a USA Wrestling Bronze certified coach, he has experience coaching at the high school and college levels. While at Kansas Wesleyan University, Paeth helped start the first wrestling program in the school’s history and helped to recruit student athletes. While at Waldorf College in Forrest City, Iowa, he coached 9 NAIA national qualifiers and 2 NAIA All Americans. He owned and operated WNY Elite Wrestling Club, a wrestling club designed to bring elite wrestlers from all over Western New York together to train during the summer months. Paeth is a graduate of the University of Buffalo with a degree in agricultural engineering. In his free time, Paeth enjoys hunting and fishing. He is also a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan.

One of Coach Paeth first duty was to hire an assistant wrestling coach. Paeth search was a short one as he landed Abram Lopez who graduated from Rocky Ford and knows the southern Colorado area well as he grew up there. Lopez has been the Folkstyle director for Colorado USA Wrestling and previously worked as an assistant wrestling coach for the No Mercy School of Wrestling in Vista, Calif. He has an Associate of Arts degree in business from Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., and is currently working on a BAS in operations management through Arizona State online.

“Southeastern Colorado has always had solid wrestling program,” said Lopez. “I see this position as a wonderful way to get local kids to the next level of wrestling and expand their education opportunities.” Lopez hopes to start building a wrestling dynasty for OJC as well as expand offseason wrestling opportunities, perhaps internationally.

Coach Paeth is looking to improve on last season team finish as the Rattlers qualified wrestlers in seven out of the 10 weight classes and finished with two NJCAA All-American in 5th place finishes – 133 lbs Gunner Laffoon and 149 lbs Anthony Hinkle. The other qualifiers were 141 lbs Trey Waltz, 165 lbs Zachary Beard, 174 lbs Kalin Winker, 184 lbs Anthony Lodermier and 197 lbs Jered Smith. Plus, the first-year squad was ranked as high as 7th by Intermat Wrestling.