NEWELL — Newell’s wrestling season ended with Colton Niles earning seventh place in the 285-pound weight class at the state Class B tournament.
Irrigators’ head coach Dylan VanDerBoom said that placing really stood out this season because it was kind of unexpected. He added wrestlers’ improvement throughout the season also highlighted the campaign.
“The strong points, I guess, were just the team mentality, the family into it,” VanDerBoom said of Irrigator strengths going into the season. “We all came into practice, pushed each other, and made each other better as practice partners and wrestlers.”
VanDerBoom said the team’s youth posed a huge concern. Numbers featured four juniors, one ninth-grader, and three eighth-graders.
Another concern for VanDerBoom this season was that the squad did not really have a captain.
Newell collected 49 points to finish 11th at the Region 4B tournament. Colton Niles placed third in the 285-pound weight class and qualified for state.
Six other Irrigator wrestlers ended their seasons at the region event. They were Bodie VanDerBoom (2-2 record at 106 pounds), Charlie Clements (3-3 at 120), Joe Eaton (1-2 at 113), Jayden Tesch (1-2 at 126), Gavin Tesch (1-2 at 160), and Jory Clements (0-2 at 220).
Niles pinned Winner Area’s Derek Fenenga in 1 minute 54 seconds of the seventh-place state match to end the season.
“We wrestled different from the beginning to the end,” VanDerBoom said in describing how the team evolved during the campaign. He added matches were better later in the season as opposed to early.
VanDerBoom cited the example of Clements, who dropped a first-period match to Lead-Deadwood’s Drew Janke early in the season. The same result occurred at the Region 4B tournament, but in the second period.
Irrigator wrestlers would engage in a conditioning warmup as opposed to doing this after the session. Practices included a lot of drilling followed by conditioning Monday through Wednesday.
VanDerBoom said practices on Thursday and Friday, going into tournaments, centered on less live wrestling and more hard drilling.
Jayden Tesch and Gavin Tesch showed considerable improvement this season, VanDerBoom said.
The Irrigators will not lose any seniors because of graduation. “That’s a huge deal,” VanDerBoom said.
VanDerBoom said he hopes one or two team members will want to stand up as leaders next season. He added Niles and Clements might do so.
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