Wrestling Wolves open season Friday at Sidney Tourney
By Neal A. Shipman
It’s a brand new wrestling season for the Watford City Wolves.
And according to Mitch Greenwood, Watford City’s new head wrestling coach, with lots of new wrestlers out for the program, as well as new additions to the coaching staff, this should be an exciting year for the Wolves.
Greenwood, who is taking over the head wrestling duties at Watford City this season, comes to the Wolves with nine years of wrestling coaching experience and five years as a head wrestling coach.
In his prior coaching jobs at Kenmare/Bowbells and Mayville, he has coached more than 30 State qualifiers and had 10 State place winners.
Another new addition to the coaching staff is Keith Larson, who has a lengthy coaching background as he has coached at many different age levels for a few different programs. Most recently, Larson coached at Great Falls, Idaho, where he had a hand in coaching multiple State champions and high school All-Americans.
Rounding out the coaching staff are some familiar faces to the program with Frank Fish and Robin Schwartz returning for the 2012-2013 season and each bringing with them a wealth of wrestling knowledge and experience.
“There is a lot of optimism in the wrestling room this year as the Wolves wrestlers and coaches have high expectations for the 2012-2013 season,” states Greenwood.
One of the big reasons Greenwood and the coaching staff are excited about this year’s prospects is that the roster of wrestlers has nearly doubled in size with 25 athletes on the squad.
“The experience levels among the individuals varies greatly,” states Greenwood. “We have eight wrestlers who have State Tournament experience, while a handful of others have some valuable varsity experience.”
But according to Greenwood, there are also a good number of kids with little or no wrestling experience at all who have decided to give it a shot.
“Most of these kids are athletes that already play other sports,” states Greenwood of the newcomers to wrestling. “They know how to compete and they know how to work hard. That’s a pretty good foundation to build on.”
Greenwood says that Joe Nelson and Austin Garmann, both of whom are seniors and have State Tournament experience, are poised to have very successful seasons and will be looked to as team leaders.
“Some of the younger athletes will also provide some leadership as the remaining six athletes who have State Tournament experience are all sophomores,” states Greenwood. “Logan Gumke, Coleton Jore, Clay Jorgenson and Keegan Thompson all competed in Bismarck at State last February as freshmen.”
Greenwood also has high expectations for Kolton Hall, who is new to Watford City High School, but competed at the State Tournament in Wyoming last year.
Rounding out other wrestlers with State experience is sophomore Logan Fettig. Fettig was part of the Wolves’ dual team that placed fourth at State in 2011.
“With the growth in numbers, the coaches are excited about the likelihood of filling all 14 of the weight classes, which is not always easy to do,” states Greenwood. “There should also be some depth and room to move kids around in the lineup in many areas.”
The Wolves compete in Region IV along with Beach/Bowman, Beulah/Hazen, Hettinger/Scranton, Killdeer, New Salem, and Standing Rock.
“The region should be very competitive this year as just about every team appears to be on the rise,” states Greenwood.
The top two teams from Region IV based on the best dual records within the region qualify for the State Dual Tournament. In addition, the top four place winners at the Region IV Individual Tournament advance to the State Tournament. This year, the State Tournament will be held Feb. 16 to 18 at the Fargodome.
Watford City will kick off its season on Nov. 30 when the Wolves compete in a 12-team dual tournament. The next morning, the varsity and junior varsity teams will travel to Velva for an individual tournament, while the junior high competes in Williston.