Nodaway Valley/O-M boys wrestling had one of their practices open to the public Saturday, Nov. 19 to show people the kind of hard work and effort they give each other each day as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Co-head coaches Brad Honnold and Kolby Baier report 17 wrestlers are out for the team this year.
“I always get excited when wrestling season comes around and this season’s no different,” Honnold said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, having lost a lot from last year. We knew we had some good, hard workers, but I’ve been impressed. These kids are not afraid to get after it. We’ve kind of tried to break them a little and they keep looking at us telling us to give them more.”
Seniors Brandon Raasch (21-24 last season) and Colt Slocum (6-15), as well as returning district qualifiers Eli Harris (15-14), Bradley Gebbie (26-21) and Trent Warner (36-18), are providing the leadership needed for the team to get better.
“We lost four really good seniors last year and knew we had a couple coming back. Your program is led by your seniors at all times, and the nice thing about these two is that they’re your ‘lead by example’ kind of kids. The good thing about that is that we have some younger kids who can step up and be more vocal,” Honnold said. “Brandon’s been in the program from the get go. Colt comes from a family who has a pretty rich history in wrestling. They mean the world to us.”
Baier said that last season, he and other coaches saw the three who would finish the season at districts improve steadily. Zackary Gebbie finished the season 31-14 and had to bow out of the sectional tournament early because of a concussion.
“Eli came in young and has gotten tougher, Bradley is one of those kids who wants to be the toughest guys out there, and Trent is no longer a soft little freshman at heavyweight, he’s a big bruiser,” Baier said. “I think it’s a good group of three guys who will lead us well throughout the season.”
Also returning in the lighter weights is Kasen Hansen. Aiden Kuster and Dylan Bartles come back in the middle weights while Charles Rudolf is another returner in the upper weights.
The Wolverines also boast six freshmen. Expected to be in the lower weights are Keyin Steeve and Slade Gettler. In the middle weights are Matt Nelson and Bryan Gonzales. In the upper weights are Aiden Goetz and Ashton Honnold.
Several recent wrestlers were in attendance Saturday, and Baier said it is important that the current wrestlers consider the bar that has been set by those recent wrestlers within the program.
The team also exhibited a new black singlet, a new silver singlet and new warmups after the open practice, which were made possible by the Nodaway Valley Booster Club.
The team hits the mat in competition Thursday, Dec. 1 in a quadrangular at Stuart against West Central Valley, ACGC and East Union. Two days later they host the Coach Riley Invitational in Greenfield.
“The first duals, we’ve gotta go in and expect to win all three of them. We’re not wrestling anyone way bigger than us, they’re our size schools,” Baier said. “We’ve gotta go and start it out big, then coming into our home tournament, it will be a pretty good tournament. We’ve gotta find that success early, but at the same time learn and figure it all out.”