Pinning The Way to State
The journey to the Nebraska state wrestling tournament this year won’t be an easy one. There will be many challenging schools Elkhorn will go up against this season, but it won’t stop the Antlers from reaching their goal. Junior Brett Swanson is one of the key wrestlers on the team to have the potential to reach the state tournament. Brett wrestles in the 285 weight class, but is trying to cut to 220. “The lighter you can get, the easier it is for you because right now I weigh at 230ish, and heavyweight goes all the up to 285. So those guys have a fifty-pound weight difference.” Swanson also believes in himself that he has the chance to wrestle in the state tournament as well. “I definitely have a chance… you got to have a good mentality.” He was asked about how the coaches help them accomplish the goal of making it to state, he replied “Always giving hints and reminders during practice. We would be done with practice and then coach says “get on the line”, which means we’re running reapers, which is conditioning. And you gotta haul. You gotta have everything you got because your gonna be gasped of needing oxygen, but you gotta find another gear to shift into to keep going.”
Senior Joshua Schmutz wrestles at 170 but will be dropping to 160 after winter break.“I think we’ve improved a lot. We got a bunch of guys coming back so we should be able to improve each other and just make us a better team.” “I definitely feel stronger than last season.” Schmutz said after being asked how much the team has improved from last season. Schmutz also believes that he will make it to the state tournament. Saying with confidence, “For sure.”
Senior Easton Ladehoff, who has wrestled for six years, wrestles at the 106-pound weight and is planning on staying there since he’s been wrestling in that weight class for the past four years. Ladehoff said he has improved a lot from last season to this season. “I’ve improved greatly because I’ve noticed the fact after the first meet I took 2nd place compared to taken 5th last year,” Ladehoff said. “I’ve worked with Nebraska Wrestling Academy over the summer and been to conditioning every day over the fall. I just have to push harder and I think I can get there.”
This season the teams Elkhorn has faced, according to many wrestlers, have been decent competition. Boys Towns is so far one of the hardest tournaments they’ve had and the team had five wrestlers place there. Fremont and other Class A schools are ranked top ten and will be a challenge for the Antlers. This team said it has confidence in each other and that will be one of the main factors that will drive this team to do well this season and accomplish their goal.