By Cara L. Dempski
BOYCEVILLE — Jamie Olson, the head wrestling coach at Boyceville High School, seems pleased with the ten grapplers returning to this year’s team after last season.
The Bulldogs have an 18-person roster for the 2017-2018 season that includes two state champions and a pair of sixth-place medal winners from last season’s state tournament.
Boyceville also has a talented group of freshmen who will need to step up their skills and competitive nature quickly.
“We will be young in the lower weights,” Olson noted. “These guys will have to grow up fast and be ready to battle some good competition right away.”
Boyceville lost state champion and four-time state participant James Palmer, along with fellow wrestlers Jerod Nelson, Trey Brinker, Micadin Kahl and Hunter Lipke to graduation this past spring, but Olson seems pleased with the team he has to work with this year.
Senior Garrett Joles is looking forward to his final year as a high school wrestler while preparing for a college career at the University of Minnesota starting next fall.
Joles finished the 2016-2017 season as the WIAA Division 3 state champion at 195 pounds after going 44-1 overall. He was a state runner-up his previous two seasons.
Letter winner Jason Swanepoel also returns for a senior season at 152, and Tanner Anderson will wrestle one last year at 145.
Seniors Justin Malean (170) and Noah Novotney (285) are also back to finish their high school careers after both finished sixth in the state in their respective weight classes last season.
Two-time state champion Brock Schlough, part of a group of five juniors, returns one season after winning the WIAA Division 3 state championship at 160 pounds with a 43-1 mark. He also won the Division 3, 138-pound state title his freshman season and is currently 85-5 overall.
Schlough is joined by classmates and letter winners Nick Goodell (138), Eli Swanson (106) and Dylan McNew (170). French exchange student Arthur Bia (120) has also taken a liking to wrestling according to Olson, and hopes to fill a lower weight.
Sophomore Liz Bealer is the only sophomore returning to the team this season with a letter. She will fill a spot at 145 pounds, while her classmate Austin Hatfield will wrestle at 138.
This year’s freshman class includes Walker Retz at 113 pounds, Nathan Stuart at 126, Nick Litomsky wrestling in the 132-pound class, Trett Joles competing at 182, and Taylor Schmid wrestling at 195 pounds.
Freshman TJ Anderson is also listed at 170 pounds, but Olson explained the ninth-grader is going to have foot surgery, and is therefore serving in a managerial role this season.
The Boyceville coach said the six freshmen are a special group whom he looks forward to watching as they develop through the year.
The bulk of Olson’s line-up will be in the middle and upper weight classes, and is a group that promises to be really good.
“They not only have talent, but bring great leadership to practice every night,” the coach noted. “We will be young in the lower weights. We don’t have a lot of depth, so staying healthy is going to be important.”
Hatfield will provide some middle-weight depth for the Bulldogs, with newcomer Bia hopefully holding his own in a lower weight class.
Olson wants his team to focus on treating each new day as a challenge, and to focus on the plan.
Olson has named Durand and Spring Valley/Elmwood as two good teams, and indicated Glenwood City and Mondovi will have some excellent individual wrestlers.
Jamie Olson is in the 17th year of coaching the Boyceville wrestling team, and he will be assisted again this year by Corey Day (in his 10th year). Olson has 233 wins to his credit, and was not certain of the number of losses on his record.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to open their season December 1 at Cumberland Duals before heading to Clear Lake December 7. Boyceville will then wrestle in the Dells Duals at the Chula Vista Dome in Wisconsin Dells December 9.
Seniors: Tanner Anderson, Jason Swanepoel, Justin Malean, Garrett Joles and Noah Novotney.
Juniors: Eli Swanson, Arthur Bia, Nick Goodell, Brock Schlough and Dylan McNew.
Sophomores: Austin Hatfield and Liz Bealer.
Freshmen: Walker Retz, Nathan Stuart, Nick Litomsky, TJ Anderson, Trett Joles and Taylor Schmid.