Friday, June 22, 2018
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Mat time equals life skills

Wrestling will turn out to be small chapter in book of life

Work hard.

Never back down.

Battle through the challenges.

If you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Those are just a few ideas Gothenburg coach Tom Scott hopes his wrestlers take from a successful season on the mat.

Overall, Swede varsity wrestlers had 230 wins and 140 losses. That’s a positive ratio from any perspective.

“We had a great season,” Scott said. “The boys were continually getting better and some of their best matches were their final matches, including the junior varsity wrestlers. That’s what a wrestling coach really wants to see.”

Two Swede seniors finished among the school’s top three in number of career wins.

Six of the 11 who competed at the varsity level finished the year with winning records.

“As a whole, the kids faced challenges really well all year,” Scott said. “They continually upped their effort meet after meet.”

The result was three state qualifiers, two state medalists and a group of 12 high school boys who are prepared to take on life.

“Each one of them had high points throughout the season,” Scott said.

Heavyweight Dane Ehlers led the team with 46 wins this year and capped his high school career with 124 victories.

The senior finished third at state, going out as one of the top six kids in the state all-class in his weight division, Scott said.

“I think had he been on the other side of the bracket, he would have been in the state championship,” the coach said.

Fellow senior Mitch Spiegel, who wrestled at 106 pounds, tied the school record for career wins with 146, a mark set last season by Tanner Schwanz.

Speigel was fourth at state in his fourth time qualifying and he led the Swedes this season in decision wins with 15 and most two-point nearfalls at 13.

Spiegel ends his high school career with 261 takedowns, 116 first takedowns and 832 team points.

“Mitch did not lose to a Class B opponent until the district meet,” Scott said, “and his performance at state was well done.”

Bryce Eggleston, another senior state qualifier, had 76 takedowns this year, 39 first takedowns and 30 escapes to lead all three statistical categories.

After a 17-1 start to the season , Eggleston finished the year 39-17.

“The amazing thing about Bryce is that he went into the district meet seeded seventh and finished the state meet as one of the top eight in his weight class,” Scott said.

A fourth senior, Justin Larson, didn’t get a chance to compete at state but that shouldn’t take away from his wrestling success, the coach said.

Larson, who went 37-10 this winter, had 29 pins and 31 three-point near falls to lead those categories.

“Justin is just an extremely hard worker,” Scott said.

Losing the leadership from the seniors on and off the mat will leave the Swedes with big shoes to fill next year.

“Now it’s about developing the younger guys,” Scott said, “and that starts in the youth program. We need to make sure those kids see the excitement to keep the success going.”

But while the wins and the medals are nice, Scott said that’s not what high school wrestling is all about.

“A big part of being a wrestling coach is teaching life skills,” Scott said. “Wrestling is really just a very small part of their book of life. It’s just a tiny little chapter. Hopefully the skills they learn will help them someday be good fathers, good brothers, good sons, good people.”