Wrestling: Parkers Prairie, Eagle Valley pair for wrestling season
After struggling to fill weight classes last season, there will be an abundance of athletes to work with for the 2012-2013 season as Parkers Prairie and Eagle Valley begin their first year as a joint program as the Prairie Valley Nighthawks.
Already paired in football, this step gives veteran coach Bill Wagner optimism for a great upcoming season.
"Parkers Prairie is very excited to join forces with Eagle Valley in wrestling," he said. "We are looking forward to an exciting season and having new faces in the room and the stands.
"Great people, great kids, what a way to start a new season."
A pair of veteran seniors will lead the way for the Nighthawks in Tyler Schlosser and Mitchell Westerberg.
Schlosser will open the season as the top-ranked Class A wrestler at 220 pounds. Schlosser, who wrestled at 195 pounds last season, finished fourth in the state meet.
Between Schlosser and Westerberg, the two have a total of eight years of varsity experience.
"They will definitely be looked upon to rack up a lot of points and to motivate this team," said Wagner. "The Nighthawks will lean on their experience to pull them through this season.
"Mitch is lightning quick and Tyler is very powerful."
Trent Hagen, another senior, will be back after missing last season with a knee injury.
Wagner has five juniors on his team in Bryce Looker, Spencer Libby, Dillon Borchert, Stephen Brunson and Quentin Uran.
"Bryce is probably the best athlete in the room," said his coach. "He can do some crazy stuff out there on that mat.
"Quentin is only a second year wrestler, but shows lots of promise. He also really benefitted from wrestling Schlosser last year.
"Spencer Libby joins the team this year," Wagner said. "He has energy and a wild style."
Making up the bulk of the team this season will be the sophomore class with Jayme Haabala, Derek Leeseberg, C.J. Marotto, Logan Nibbe, Kyle Schlosser, Nic Shircliff and Dylan Winkler, while freshman Thomas Leeseberg brings two years of experience to the mat with him.
Rounding out the team will be 8th grader Nolan Hart, Justin Matocks and Josh McKeown along with 7th graders Eric Brauch, Adam Foster and Mason Nibbe.
Wagner looks at Barnesville as the team to beat in the section.
"They have many letter winners coming back and a number of state entrants. They will be solid from top to bottom," he said.
The Prairie Valley coach also sees New York Mills as one of the top teams in the conference, along with Osakis.
PRAIRIE VALLEY WRESTLING
SENIORS - Trent Hagen, Tyler Schlosser, Mitchell Westerberg.
JUNIORS - Dillon Borchert, Stephen Brunson, Spencer Libby, Bryce Looker, Quentin Uran.
SOPHOMORES - Jayme Haabala, Derek Leeseberg, CJ Marotto, Logan Nibbe, Kyle Schlosser, Nic Shircliff, Dylan Winkler.
FRESHMAN - Thomas Leeseberg.
8TH GRADERS - Nolan Hart, Justin Mattocks, Josh McKeown.
7TH GRADERS - Eric Brauch, Adam Foster, Mason Nibbe.