Coming off a tough season Pointer wrestlers are excited to see what this year has in store.
“We want to bring Pointer wrestling back to the national level and I think last year’s finish is motivation to work hard,” said head coach Johnny Johnson.
The Pointers lost a lot of seniors prior to last season and had a young starting lineup. Some of the younger wrestlers were still learning the ropes.
“We’re younger this year than last year, but we have good group and a lot of them are ready to make the transition right away,” Johnson said. “They have to be.”
With a little more experience, this young team is ready for the new season.
“We’re a young team so everyone always has to try their hardest, give it their all and keep learning,” said sophomore captain Logan Hermsen.
As the team learns and compete this season they keep the thought of nationals in the back of their mind.
“We want to be in the top five in conference at least and get some people to nationals,” Hermsen said.
The wrestling team had a steady stream of national qualifiers until last year.
“It’s the first time we didn’t qualify someone for national tournament in a long time,” Johnson said.
Hermsen hopes he will be one of the wrestlers on the road to nationals at the end of the year.
“I want to qualify for national and be in top two at conference,” Hermsen said.
This goal will not be an easy feat. Acquiring a spot at the national level means placing in the top three at the regional meet.
“We have the toughest region in the county and our conference is one of the toughest,” Johnson said.
UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse will be two teams that will pose a challenge in the conference. Elmhurst and North Central will add to the threat outside of the conference.
The Pointers are ready to except that challenge and there are a few individuals who can help lead the way.
“Our returners and captains are our front runners,” Johnson said. “They’ll be the most prominent along with the transfers. We have a squad of 32 guys and 28 of them are freshmen and sophomores.”
Hermsen said himself, John Roycraft, Jared Kust and Dylan Diebitz should have a good season this year.
“We worked hard all summer, we had a good off season, and we’ve dedicated a lot of time,” Hermsen said.
Hermsen said the work ethic on the team was good in addition to the leadership.
“One of the things that we emphasize is the team concept,” Johnson said. “We push that idea and they’re like a group of brothers. The chemistry is really good and they’re a hard working group of kids.”
The chemistry within the team makes practice easier.
“Wrestling is kind of a grind sometimes and it’s hard to make it through without friends to talk to,” Hermsen said. “We’re all friends and we do a lot of stuff together.”
The Pointers have six home events this year. The first on is the Pointer Open on Nov. 8.