According to Head Coach Brandon Gruchow, now in his 14th season leading the West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville Knights Wrestling team, a young, but scrappy Knights team awaits the solid schedule they will face this season with anticipation.
“A mixture of young wrestlers with previous wrestling experience and great leaders for the 2018-2019 season are excited to see what kind of season they can put together,” said Gruchow. “Younger wrestlers are eager to take the places of seniors Hunter Mickelsen, Hunter Hanson, Bryce Lien, Alex Butcher and Wyatt Olson (3rd place in the state at 195) that graduated last spring.”
Previous state participants Anthony Sykora, Jordan Lohse and Kaleb Getz will be working towards getting back to the state tournament and have higher goals in mind as they have another year of experience under their belts. Sykora, Lohse and Getz will be joined by Colton Lindquist, Devin Stone and Deklin Goeden as team captains for the 2019-2020 season.
Returning starters from last season included Shad Swanson, Ashton Danner, Sykora, Reubens Swanson, Lohse, Getz, Bret Duncan, Lindquist, Stone and Austin Mattson. Other wrestlers that were part of the varsity team last season and are looking for a starting spot included Solomon Wales, Dierk Goeden, Deklin Goeden and Kade Olson.
Wrestlers from the JV team a year ago will also be competing for varsity spots, including Adam Lohse, Grant Lindquist, Carter Lohse, Mason Richter, Jacob Schaffran, Will Rustan, Quinten Winter, Justin Blascyk, Ethan Johnsrud, Beau Robinson, Tyler Stone, Josiah Cole, Zach Fagre, Derick Novotny, Colin Anderson, Mark Adams and Alexander Hanson.
Incoming seventh grade wrestlers with previous elementary wrestling experience that are joining the JV/Varsity team include Jameson Nadgwick, Gavin Flint, Jeremey Blascyk and Hunter Gruchow.
“With the help of all the wrestlers mentioned above and the help of the coaches we hope to see new faces as well join the team,” said Coach Gruchow. “We have mixed the schedule up a little this season. There is a good variety of competition and we will be wrestling many of the top Class A teams during the course of the season. This team will have just enough power to challenge the teams on our schedule, in our conference, and those in our section. Many of them did what they had to do to get better during the off season months. They are on the younger side, but many have been part of our state participating/placing teams and will do a great job at leading them to that level again this season.”
Gruchow is assisted by Troy Lohse, Aaron Ray, John Weeding and Dan Wales.
“Our expectation this year will be to control the controllables, work as hard as we can to get better every day we step on the mat, and embrace the grind the season brings,” added Gruchow. “Both our Park Region Conference and Section 6A have solid and respectable programs. We will be challenged at both levels. With the returning state champs, LPGE-Browerville in our conference and teams like Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie and OTC in our section it won’t be easy pickings. There are nine section place winners, including two returning state entrants on our tea. The wrestlers hold the power to the success they want to have, the coaches are going to do their best in aiding that success. It has been a couple of years since we have been able to win either the section or the conference tournament and the Knight wrestlers are eager to give it their all to get those titles back in their hands!”