Dragon wrestlers look to endure with strength in 2022-23

Tri-County Area Times Wrestling Preview

Prep wrestling matches may only last for six minutes but given the intense action involved in any bout, it's easy to tire out even before being half-way home.

That's why Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta Head Wrestling Coach Dan Schulte wants the members of the Dragons' Tri-County co-op squad this season to have not only the strength but endurance to last a full match for better results in the 2022-23 season.

"A lot of our wrestlers have great motors. They're aggressive and want to go after their opponents," Schulte said. "All that's important. But they need to be this way for a full match and often times we've struggled with that. That's why it's an emphasis for us this season and hopefully when but the end of the season they'll be able to wrestle all out for six minutes and even longer."

Unfortunately what they will accomplish will have done individually. With only 10 wrestlers on the roster and three of them newcomers to the team, the Dragon will have a hard time competing as a team in dual competitions. OFA went 6-16 in duals last season (0-4 in the West Cloverbelt) and finished seventh in the overall Cloverbelt Conference meet and seventh in the regional meet with no sectional qualifiers. Letterman Isaiah Waggoner graduated.

The highlight of OFA's season last year was the accomplishment's of senior Breanna Wier. She finished third in the first-ever WIAA State Girls Wrestling Tournament in La Crosse at 152 pounds and high hopes are there for her again in 2023.

"Like the whole team she has to improve upon having consistent energy for a whole match and getting the little things down as well," Schulte said. "But she's been working very hard to reach her goals and we look forward to hopefully seeing her do so at the state level."

There are also two other female wrestlers on the Dragon roster in sophomore Aaliyah Zamora and junior Ali Knuth.

"We want to get our female wrestlers as many opportunities to wrestle other girls throughout the season," Schulte said. "With the new rules in place, there's going to be more multi-school events, like this one here in Mondovi (the Beef River Brawl held last weekend, Dec. 3) where we got the chance to set-up those match-ups that's going to be beneficial to them. While we still have our conference schedule and couple of other duals vs. Blair-Taylor and Whitehall, we can do more mutli-school meets and there will be more triangulars and quads to compete in as well."

OFA went 0-4 at the Beef River Brawl, losing 60-18 to Unity, 51-24 to Mondovi/Eleva-Strum; 54-15 to Chetek-Weyerhaeuser/Prairie Farm and 51-22 to Independence/Gilmanton. But all OFA wrestlers got at least one win in the competition with the records as follows: Aaliyah Zamora 1-3 at 106 pounds, Ali Knuth 1-2 at 113, Cayden Gunther 3-1 at 120, Bryce Armstrong-Baglien 3-1 at 126, Breanna Wier 1-3 at 152, Dustin Sudbrink 1-3 at 160, Hunter Breaker 3-1 at 170 and Gryphon Brown 1-3 at 220. Gunther, Armstrong-Baglien, Breaker, Sudbrink and Brown are also returning letter-winners along with Wier with Gunther, Armstrong-Baglien and Breaker having impressive performances. Armstrong-Baglien's only loss came in overtime to Indy/Gilmanton's Owen Gierok at 126.

"Cayden, Bryce and Hunter can all push the pace of their matches," Schulte said. "We want them to be able to that now and in February as well. We're building the endurance of our wrestlers gradually throughout the season until they reach that peak in final month and we're confident they exceed what they did a year ago."

OFA competes in the Tomah Invitational on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m.

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