Glenwood grapplers look for full line-up, improved season
GLENWOOD CITY — Smaller participation numbers meant empty weight classes for the Glenwood City wrestling team a season ago which lead to the Hilltoppers’ first losing season under head coach Shane Strong.
Strong, who enters his seventh season at the program’s helm with a 82-50 dual meet record, had guided Glenwood City to five consecutive winning seasons and a conference championship. But openings at several weight classes that persisted throughout much of last season saw the Hilltoppers finish just 8-12 in duals.
But a new season brings new opportunities.
Glenwood City, who lost just one wrestler to graduation – Logan Smith, features 11 returning letter winners and 20 wrestlers in all as it looks to field a full squad for the 2015-16 season and a return to its winning ways.
Leading the way will be senior Hogan Chouinard, the Toppers’ lone sectional qualifier last season. Chouinard, who finished 25-12 last year, is vastly improved according to the coach.
“Hogan is much stronger and athletic after a great off-season of lifting and conditioning,” said Coach Strong.
Junior Jake O’Meara, a 30-plus match winner last season, returns along with classmates Marcus Ullom (27-11) and Jake Logghe, whom Strong noted has added strength, will provide some punch to the Hilltoppers line-up.
O’Meara is slated to wrestle at 152 pounds with Ullom returning at 138 and Logghe at 170 pounds.
Those four will be joined by fellow letter winners Jake Nadeau (113), Brad Kessler (120), Cody Bonte (145), Austin Curvello (106), Trevor Larson (132), Dan Taylor (106) and Spencer Peterson (160). Nadeau, Kessler, Curvello and Larson all saw varsity action last season as freshman.
Sophomore Carson Strong will be a welcome addition after he missed the entire last season due to an ACL injury suffered in football.
“Carson will be a very solid addition to our line-up,” said Coach Strong of his son.
In addition, the team will be in need of the contributions of seniors David Hoffman (285) and Kole Smith (138); juniors John Pagnotta (152) and Joe Obermueller (132); sophomores Collin Schone (195), Jake Kopacz (170) and Carlos Perez (160) and lone freshman Bryce Payerweather (195).
Out of the 20 high school wrestlers on the Toppers’ roster this season, 15 are in the junior (7) and sophomore (8) classes.
“We return our entire team,” said Strong when queried about his team’s strength.
“I believe we have some kids in the room with strong work ethics and a drive to succeed.
Although Glenwood City will be able to fill all 14 weight classes this year, depth is paper thin which makes staying healthy an important objective for the team.
“Our top goal is to improve every day,” stated Coach Strong. “Our kids set individual goals, but as a team we want to be competitive in the conference as we have in the past.”
As for the competition, Strong sees Spring Valley/Elmwood and Boyceville duking it out once again for the Dunn-St. Croix title and more. The Cardinals nipped the Bulldogs for the conference and regional titles last season and went on to claim the Division 3 state championship.
“Both teams are very well coached and return several strong kids,” Strong stated.
Tim Miller returns to assist Strong. The pair will be joined by former two-time state champion Austin Moe. Managers are Brooke Wickman and Allison Curvello.
The Toppers open the 2015-16 season this Saturday, December 5 when it hosts its annual John Timm Memorial Duals.
Seniors: Hogan Chouinard, David Hoffman, Cody Bonte and Cole Smith.
Juniors: Spencer Peterson, Jake Logghe, Marcus Ullom, Jake O’Meara, Dan Taylor, John Pagnotta and Joe Obermueller.
Sophomores: Jake Nadeau, Austin Curvello, Brad Kessler, Trevor Larson, Carson Strong, Collin Schone, Jake Kopacz and Carlos Perez.
Freshman: Bryce Fayerweather.