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Knights look to build on last season’s success

November 28, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

The Union wrestling program got a taste of success individually and in duals during coach Bart Mehlert's first season as the head coach last year. Now the Knights feel ready to ascend further as a team and see more individuals compete in Des Moines in late February.

"We're working hard in practicing and setting high goals for ourselves," Mehlert said. "We've hit the ground running where we left off last year. We have some new guys playing catch up, and some experienced freshmen ready to compete. By choice or not, they'll be in our lineup."

Mehlert will have 21 athletes fill all 13 weight classes this season, barring injury. Included in this year's roster are four returning State qualifiers in Jack Thomsen, Kolten Krawford, Adam Ahrendsen and Lane Albertsen. However, Mehlert will look beyond those four individuals with his deeper team in 2018-19.

"Our strength is we have a lot of guys out with experience and we have to just fine tune some stuff over the season," Mehlert said. ""We have four returning qualifiers, place winners and guys that should've been at State, but they're motivated this season to get there. There are plenty of last year's freshman ready to get their chance this year. The whole team is looking good. By the end of February, we want to be bringing home trophies."

After placing third in his sophomore year, Thomsen returns to the 138 weight class with the goal of moving up the podium once again this season, in addition to seeing his teammates also succeed.

"Last year for me was a great improvement, going from seventh to third at State and then our team really got better," Thomsen said. "It was a fun experience and I feel we can do even better this year. We need to get more people on the podium and I want the team to make State as well me make it myself."

Crawford and Ahrendsen are both on the same train of thought with their teammate as both sophomores ready to prove themselves more after each having successful freshman years and wrestling at State.

"There's room for me to improve from last season," Crawford said. "I have to improve on my feet a lot more. I was pretty strong on top and bottom, but there's always ways to get better so I can compete in the finals at State this year. The team needs to get tougher, have less pins on us and we'll be a dangerous team."

After qualifying for State, Ahrendsen went 0-2 in the tournament. This season, such an experience won't be acceptable on the mat.

"Everyone is working hard on the mat because they know on any given day they can be beat," Ahrendsen said. "I know this year will be harder for me because people will be prepared. To be on varsity as a freshman and get down the State was great, but this year I want to win and not go 0-2."

The team will kick off their 2018-19 campaign with several duals against Decorah and Vinton-Shellsburg on Tuesday, Nov. 27, North Tama and Aplington-Parkersburg on Thursday, Nov. 29 and the Keith Young tournament later in the season, a premier tournament in the state with many different class sizes. Denver will also prove to be a tough opponent in the NICL this season.

"We have to outwork everyone because that's what it will take to win," Mehlert said. "Everyone started practicing at the same time, doing the same moves, but we have to do everything harder and better."



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