Posted 11/20/13 (Wed)
The Watford City Wolves wrestlers have returned to the mats for the 2013-2014 wrestling season. Practice started on Monday, Nov. 4 and has been going strong for two weeks already.
The Wolves are coming off of a pretty successful season last year in which they had 10 State qualifiers, including two State place winners. Of those individuals that made up last year’s team, eight of the State qualifiers are back for the Wolves, including Jade Hepper, who placed 8th at 106 pounds and plans to compete at 120 pounds for the Wolves this season.
The Wolves are short on seniors this season as Dakota Neether is the lone senior on the team. Neether was a State qualifier at 170 pounds a year ago.
In spite of the low number of seniors, the Wolves are not short on experience. In addition to Neether and Hepper, Logan Gumke, Coleton Jore, Keegan Thompson, Hunter Olson, Tyler Krabbenhoft, and Kye Bolken are all hoping to improve on their season from a year ago, which saw them earn a trip to the state tournament.
Kyle Cook and Clay Jorgenson, a State qualifier two seasons ago, also were mainstays on the Wolves’ varsity squad a year ago and are back again with high hopes of breaking through to the state tournament this season. Dakota Garmann and Logan Fettig also got some varsity time last season and represented the Wolves at the Region IV Tournament last season. They too will look to improve on last year’s performances.
While Mitch Greenwood, Wolves’ head coach, is ecstatic to have so many regulars from last year’s team returning, he is equally excited about some new faces and younger wrestlers in the practice room.
“We’ve got great numbers this year in our Junior High program with eight to 10 kids in the seventh and eighth grades on the team,” states Greenwood. “And we have a few sixth graders who have been practicing with us as well, who are going to be ahead of the curve when they start their youth season, and they’ll have a year in our room under their belt next year when they get to the seventh grade. That will pay huge dividends in the long run for their wrestling careers.”
Greenwood feels that the talent level at the Junior High level is very high and expects that some of the seventh and eighth graders may even contribute to this year’s varsity squad in some capacity.
Greenwood is entering his second season as the Wolves’ head coach and is in his 10th year of coaching.
Keith Larson, who helped as a volunteer assistant coach for the Wolves last season has moved into the role of Junior High coach this season and will be working primarily with these younger athletes.
Other coaches on staff that will be helping Coach Greenwood include longtime Watford City Coach Frank Fish, who will be inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame next year. Pat Schlosser is another assistant coach who is entering his first year of coaching in Watford City. While Schlosser is new to the program, he is very familiar with Region IV wrestling as he competed for Hettinger in high school and was a coach in their program for a few years as well. Most recently, Schlosser served as head coach for Loveland, Colo. Aside from coaching wrestling, Schlosser is also a physical education teacher at W.C.H.S.
The Wolves expect the region to be extremely competitive this season. Last year they took third place in the dual standings, missing out on a trip to the State Dual Tournament by just three points. They also tied for third place at the individual Regional Tournament.
In all, just 12 wrestlers in the region last year were seniors’ and none of the top five teams in the region had more than two seniors in their starting lineups. This should make for a very exciting season.
The Wolves kick off their season on Saturday, Nov. 23 with the ninth through 12th graders competing at the New Town Early Bird Tournament at the New Town High School. The Junior High team will be traveling to Dickinson that same day to compete in the Hagen Junior High Tournament at Dickinson High School.
The Wolves’ first home action of the season will be on Dec. 10 when they host Williston in a dual meet.