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By Amber Hayden
GLENWOOD CITY — Graduation losses coupled with low participation numbers will present a challenge for the Glenwood City wrestling program this season.
But Glenwood City head wrestling coach Shane Strong, who is entering his tenth year at the helm and sports a record of 113-70, is seeing a positive attitude and willingness to work out of his team for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
“I think we will improve greatly as the year progresses,” Strong said.
The Hilltoppers finished second in the Dunn-St. Croix conference with a 3-1 mark and were 8-7 overall for the 2017-18 campaign.
Glenwood City lost five seniors to graduation last spring including four all-conference wrestlers and a pair of state place winners – Carson Strong and Jake Nadeau.
A first-team, all Dunn-St. Croix performer, Strong made his one and only trip to WIAA state tournament well worth the wait claiming a bronze medal in the Division 3, 126-pound weight class. He also added regional and sectional championships to an outstanding 34-4 his senior campaign.
Three-time state participant and two-time state place winner Jake Nadeau also claimed Division 3 regional and sectional championships and first team all-conference honors. Nadeau, who is now wrestling for Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, capped a stellar high school career by placing sixth in the D3, 120-pound state competition last February, and finished 29-6.
The Hilltoppers also had to say goodbye to three other graduating seniors – Austin Curvello, Brad Kessler and Jake Kopacz.
Brad Kessler received first-team, all-conference honors last season and was a sectional qualifier. Two-year varsity starter Jake Kopacz earned second team all-conference recognition while Curvello was a four-year starter for the Toppers.
“We are low on numbers, we have seen this coming for a few years when this group was younger,” stated coach Strong.
And while the Hilltoppers sport less than a dozen wrestlers on this season’s roster, the cupboard, so to speak, is not completely bare.
Glenwood City does return three letter winners from last season, all of which earned all-conference honors.
Leading the way is senior Bryce Fayerweather who returns to the Toppers after qualifying for state in the 285-pound, Division 3 weight class. Fayerweather, who finished last year 16-16, made the Dunn-St. Croix’ all-conference second team and placed second at regionals and third in the sectional tournament.
Joining Fayerweather are junior Tucker Lagerstrom and sophomore Andy Grant.
Grant finished an impressive freshman season with a 28-10 record and was a sectional qualifier and first-team, all-conference selection at 106 pounds.
Lagerstrom, who wrestled much of the season at 145 pounds, finished third at regionals and had an 18-12 record.
Cody Weeks and Will Eggert will step up to the varsity level after showing improvement and competitiveness.
Eggert saw some varsity time last year as a first-year wrestler while Weeks should be competitive at 170 pounds according to Strong.
“Our goal is to get better every day and improve our condition in order to score more points,” coach Strong said.
Coach Strong and his Hilltopper boys know that defending D-SC champion Boyceville will be the team to beat once again. The coach also tabbed the Bulldogs as the regional front runner and St. Croix Falls as the favorite in the Division 3 sectional.
Glenwood City will begin the new mat season this Saturday, December 1 when it hosts the annual John Timm Memorial Duals which will include Bloomer/Colfax, Neillsville, Somerset, Spooner and Triton, MN. Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. The Toppers will then travel to Luck for a dual on Thursday, December 6.
Seniors: Bryce Fayerweather and Dakota Dean-Immerman.
Juniors: Tucker Lagerstrom, Nick Melendrez, Cody Weeks, Andrew Berends, Aaron Holmquist and Christian Clark.
Sophomores: Andy Grant and Will Eggert.
Freshmen: Thomas Moede, Carter Clemens and Kyla Haaf.