The Glenwood Wrestling may be epitomizing the term “new faces” this year, after graduating eight varsity starters, including six state qualifiers, four state place-winners and one state champion. For most teams, graduating a class with an abundance of talent to that degree would warrant a rebuilding season in the following year; not in the eyes of the Glenwood Rams.
“We’re looking to fill the lineup with some guys that have had a taste of varsity a tournament and are willing to put in work and get better each and every day,” said Head Coach Brad Asche. “There are guys there; it’s just a matter of who wants to put that target on their backs and try to get really good.”
In spite of all the talent that shipped out with the class of 2018, the Rams don’t see it as a loss, but rather as an opportunity to showcase new wrestlers.
Senior Brett Mower, Glenwood’s 170 pounder and lone returning state-qualifier, believes the team’s hard-working attitude could propel them to heights that might not expected.
“As always, we have a lot of talent in the room, but this year I believe what will set us apart is our hard work ethic,” said Mower. “Hand in hand with our room-wide will to strive for just a little bit better every day comes our goals. Goals as a team never really change.”
The goals Mower mentioned include competing for state, conference and district titles, as well as solid performances at every meet.
As for the lineup, Asche emphasized that nothing is set in stone, and that the card is subject to change throughout the season.
“We’re going to go with the best group of guys we have and build on success from the beginning of the year all the way to the end,” Asche said. “We may not have our end of the year lineup set until exactly then; the end of the year.”
He mentioned Mower and Dalton Book as key contributors. Book qualified for state his freshman year but fell just short in his sophomore campaign. Some other varsity returners include Dalton Bell, Ryker Case, Tyler Huey, Nick Gill and Noah Carter.
Those guys, along with the rest of the Glenwood wrestlers, will be put to the test against a competitive Hawkeye Ten Conference. Red Oak, Lewis Central, Creston and Atlantic are likely the top candidates to dethrone the Rams as conference champions. Glenwood will also travel to many talent-loaded tournaments, including the Council Bluffs Classic in early December, and the Ed Winger Invitational in Urbandale January 19.
Despite the challenging schedule, both Mower and Asche are confident in the team’s ability to compete at a high level.
“As a team we put a lot of time down at the wrestling club over the summer, and this first week of practice we have truly been better everyday,” said Mower.
Asche said, “Some guys putting in time in the offseason was good, we had camp, summer workouts and others went to camps on their own, weight room work was good too.”
The Rams will have their first meet on the road against Riverside, Southwest Iowa and Underwood this Thursday. Following their opener, Glenwood will travel to Harlan for the Dan Hill Invite Saturday.