By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE — There are 29 athletes on the roster for the Boyceville wrestling team for this upcoming season, one that the holds great promise for the Bulldogs.
Key members returning to the team include Austin Wolfe, who is a senior with strong leadership skills, and placed fifth a year at state with a 46-5 record last season.
Also returning is sophomore Micah Johnson, who finished 45-1 as a freshman last seson and earned the Division 3, 138-pound state championship.
He has a goal to become an elite member of the four-time state champion club and will be fun to watch throughout the year in the 152 pound class, which is up a couple of weight classes from last year.
James Palmer is also a returning sophomore and he was a state qualifier with a 43-4 record at 113 pounds. This season he has added some weight and is sitting at the 126 weight class.
Other returning letter winners are Tyler Stroo (23-15), Brock Swenson (14-13), Logan McAbee-Thomas 27-17), Alex Lovett (20-18), Brandon Windsor (8-8), Jake Lake (7-5), Jake Erickson (3-28), Dylan Lamm (4-7), Tyler Krueger (5-0), Alec Schaffer (6-3), Sam Retz (2-1), Nik Bekkum (0-2), Brandon Hakanson (0-0), Trey Binker (0-0) and Jarod Nelson (0-0).
Gone from the program this season is state runner-up Bryor Hellmann and state qualifiers Jon Harnisch and Wyatt Hansen. James Lindo, Sawyer Swenson and Clayton Windsor are also gone due to graduation.
A talented group of freshmen will make their debuts this season including Dyllon Johnson, Jason Swanepoel, Cody Frederick, Justin Malean, Tanner Anderson, Garrett Joles, and Noah Novotney.
Te squad also features senior Zach Smith, junior Jordan Morse, and sophomores Gavin Olson and Justice Fulin.
“We have a very solid group of returning wrestlers, I believe our season will depend on the athletes stepping in for the group of wrestlers lost from last year,” said head coach Jamie Olson. “We have a talented bunch coming in and at what level can they compete will determine much of our success.”
The Bulldogs finished second in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference last season behind the co-op of Spring Valley/Elmwood.
According to coach Olson, the SV/EM team looks to be the top competitor in the conference again this upcoming season after they finished second at state and return a solid group of wrestlers.
“I believe we can compete with anyone, as long as I can get the best 14 on the mat,” expressed Olson.
Olson will be coaching the Bulldog team for the 16th year now and has compiled an overall varsity record of 195-75 with 17 conference championships, 13 regional titles and eight sectional titles.
He will be assisted this year by Corey Day, Doug Palmer and Paul Greene.
The Bulldogs will start their season with a invite at Ellsworth this Saturday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m.
The following Tuesday (Dec. 9) they will host their first dual match of the year, which is scheduled against Clear Lake at 7:00 p.m.