28 November 2010

Wrestling: Young and hungry

Carl Elmer
All-Missota Conference and state meet
entrant in 2009-10

The Tigers lost four key wrestlers from their 2009-10 varsity lineup--state meet wrestlers Eric Adrian and Nick Albano, Will Pauling and Seth Franklin. And that lineup more often than not gave away points by the pound due to an inability to fill all weight classes.
But that news doesn't appear to faze first year coach Chad Olson who served as Jon Lund's varsity assistant coach last winter.
"We had 50 wrestlers in the room for the first day of practice," the former FHS state qualifier said. "That means we are hoping to fill all of the weight classes and have some good depth.
"There are numerous young wrestlers who have prepared very well for this season and who will be fun to watch."
Olson has just three veteran upperclassmen to build around but they are good ones: seniors Carl Elmer and Josh Iverson and junior Bret Hoffman.
All-Missota Conference performer Elmer posted a 30-5 record last season and is rated seventh in the pre-season individual state poll at 152 pounds.
Iverson and Hoffman both saw extended action in 2009-10. Four freshmen--Joe Hoeve, Jake Rudeen, Joe Liden and Brayden Chapman--earned varsity letters as eighth-graders last winter.
Based on early practices, sophomore Jake Bauman; eighth graders Kyle Benjamin, Matt Rustad and John Walz and seventh grader Taylor Venz should also be among the top contenders for varsity mat time.
"We have great senior leadership and are expecting a great season," Olson said. "With a lot of wrestlers returning we should be able to fill out all of the weight classes.
"The keys will be how our young and inexperienced wrestlers respond to competing on a varsity team with a very tough schedule. We need to keep our numbers up and stay healthy."
Olson picked Shakopee and the new Chaska/Chanhassen team as the front-runners for Missota Conference honors with Prior Lake and Lakeville South the early favorites in the Section 2AAA race.
Olson and Lund have flipped-flopped coaching positions with Lund joining Doug Quick as a varsity assistant.
The Tigers open the season with a trip to the Panther Invitational, Saturday, December 4, at Lakeville North.