November 12th marked the first official day of high school wrestling practice in Nebraska. We caught up with head coaches from all 4 classes to hear how the first day went.

Class A

“We had about 3/4 of our team at both practices (9am and 3pm). We will give our football players a week to rehab and recover mentally and physically. So by next Monday, we should have our whole team. The boys are open minded to learning and drilling, and we will continue to build our mental and physical toughness all year. We have a great mix of coaches, and I feel all kids will be able to relate to at least one coach to improve on and off the mat.
Curtis Gocke of Bellevue West

“This is by far the most experienced team I have ever coached with so many state qualifiers and medalists coming into day 1. We are hitting the ground running and we got a lot of work done today. Strong senior leadership and the work ethic of all the wrestlers in the room made it an amazing first practice of the season!”
-Adam Keiswetter of Columbus

“It was a great day full of energy. The kids are excited and the effort brought day one showed how much they care and enjoy the sport of wrestling.”
-Jairin Potter of Elkhorn

“Good numbers, great work ethic…plenty of potential….the quest begins.”
-Mike Bressler of Elkhorn South

“It was a great first day of practice. Everyone is excited for the start of the season and the team is focused on improving everyday. The newcomers are picking things up quickly and the veterans are leading the way.”
-Ben Wilcox of Fremont

“The first day of practice is always exciting for us. We spend a good amount of time on routines and procedures while getting the wrestlers a good first practice workout.”
-Ty Swarm of Kearney

“A great first day. Tons of new faces to represent the program this year! Attitudes, energy, and work ethic were all big parts of a great first practice!”
-Patrick Neilly/Zach Schnell of Lincoln Northeast

“The first day showed a lot potential in our wrestling room. We have a strong core group of wrestlers returning to the program and we have a lot of young new faces that have already shown potential. The team and myself are looking forward to competing and surprising some people with how much the team has improved from last season.”
-Jake Froscheiser of Lincoln North Star

“Today was a great day, getting the veterans back on the mat and adding in the freshman made for an awesome practice. Kids were upbeat and ready to go.”
-Scott Townsley of Millard West

“First practice of the season started with 60 boys and 2 girls giving their best efforts. We are excited to see the team improve each day.”
-Justin Grey of Norfolk

“The first day of practice went well! We’ve shortened our practice and made it more intense. The wrestlers seem to grasp this concept and Benson had one of the best 1st practices of my career. #wearebenson”
-Marcus Hilario of Omaha Benson

“Christmas came, and it did not disappoint! Had some new and old faces that just grinded all practice long. Just makes the coaching staff excited for day 2, 3, 4, and beyond!”
-Jason Susnjar of Omaha Bryan

“After 22 years, the excitement is still there on the first day of practice. Great returning core of young men this year. The leaders are setting the example for the younger guys in work ethic and in how to carry yourself in practice. At today’s practice, you could feel the team power!”
-Jimmie Foster of Omaha Central

“Our sport is continuing to teach wrestlers how to be great men!!! Through Mental Toughness, Discipline, and Hard Work Ethic, the sport leads those that are common to be great!!!”
-Michael Jernigan of Omaha Westside

“Excitement and energy to embrace the grind has begun. Reality is, it didn’t start today. It started at the end of last year. Our athletes want to compete at a higher level and as a coaching staff we are raising the bar. Athletes are buying in and making the most out of their opportunity to wrestle this year.”
-Chris Curry of Papillion La Vista

“It’s always awesome to strap it up and see the excitement on faces of those that believe in another season of dreams that only a start of a new wrestling season can bring!”
-Jason Branigan of Papillion-LaVista South

Class B

“The boys did a great job tonight. Attentive and eager to get after it, the boys went hard and lifted each other up. Excited to have the group back together and enthusiastic newcomers on the mat scrapping away. #1TEAM1FAMILY1FIGHT”
-Nick Myers of Alliance

“Aurora still has a large majority of their wrestling team preparing for the C-1 State Football Championship, which we are extremely excited about. The guys we had practicing today came eager and ready to get the season started. We even had some football guys show up to watch practice after some football film study, which shows us that those guys are also getting eager to get on the mats. It was a great first day.”
-Derek Keasling of Aurora

“We had a great first day of practice. With over 30 kids out and being fairly young I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but the kids really busted their tails. It was a good pace and our experienced guys did a great job helping as well. I am excited to see what this team can become. I have added a few really good coaches to help with what I already had, so it should be a fun year.”
-Jordan Johnson of Beatrice

“As a coach, the first day was a typical first day of high school wrestling with a lot of excitement and ready to get the season started. However, the beginning of this season is a little different for us. Sixteen of our 30 wrestlers are freshmen with very little wrestling experience so the coaches are very busy teaching the basics to the kids. It will be a fun year watching these kids develop and grow.”
-Alan Pokorny of Bennington

“It’s always exciting to get everyone back in the room after fall sports. We focused on basics and teaching our routine. We felt all of the kids came with good energy and were ready to get going. We have a great core group back and we added a good sized freshman class as well. We are excited to see how this group comes together and what they can accomplish as a team.”
-Erich Warner of Blair

“The start of the year is always an exciting time! You get to see how much progress your kids have made through off-season work. It’s always a little bit of a balancing act as you have some beginners and some really advanced guys. You want bring along your pups but really grind with and push your studs. Just getting on the mat re-energizes you and you cant help but be excited to help your group with their journey and help them write their season story!”
-Derek Garfield of Fairbury

“It was great to get the season started, I thought our kids really got after it. They were ready to roll that’s a good feeling to know your kids are excited about the season.”
-Brian Sybrandts of Grand Island Northwest

“There is nothing that compares to the energy of the first day of practice. The Alphas in the room are seeking each other out to see who really is King of the room. I wish I could bottle up this excitement and intensity and bring it out in the middle of the season when some wrestlers hit that wall. Our numbers are way up this year with a good group of upperclassmen. We are expecting to do two things this year, Kick butt and chew bubble gum, and we’re all out of bubble gum!”
-Nick Umscheid of McCook

“It’s a youth movement at Gross! Lots of young hungry guys that are willing to push Gross to its past successes. It’s really exciting and fun times. Lots of electricity in this room. We may not be where we want to be, but, well on our way to where we are going!”
-Chuck Mulligan of Omaha Gross Catholic

“Excited to get back on the mats. No better feeling than a practice room full of hungry athletes. Go Warriors!”
-Jeremy Hlavac of Schuyler

“With our football team in the State Finals, we are missing some of our guys. Even though our room is not as full as it will be, it was still great to have much the team back together and working hard. We are really looking forward to the season!”
-Chas DeVetter of Omaha Skutt Catholic

“We had 58 boys and girls in our brand new wrestling room on our first day of practice tonight! It was a little chaotic at times, but the kids worked their tails off and are excited for the wrestling season!!!”
-Jason Redmond of West Point-Beemer

“I had a blast today! It was so much fun getting to re-connect with kids I hadn’t seen much this fall. We got a lot of things crossed off of our list today that needed to be covered, and the kids got better today. It was a great start to our season!”
-Chad Mattox of York

Class C

“I told the team that today a new life begins…doubt, pain, lethargy, failure, and resignation will try to infect you and make you weak. And in the words of Hatebreed’s song “Destroy Everything”. You must destroy everything that tries to infect. Obliterate what makes you weak.”
-Brandon Mues of Arlington

“We had a full room of guys getting after it! Our seniors showed great leadership in showing our freshmen how we do things and there was competition in everything we did. Guys are working hard to earn a spot on our varsity team.”
-Cody Wintz of Battle Creek

“The team got a lot done tonight. All members for the most part came in shape and practiced as they needed for the first grind. Need to keep their drive and aim for our goals. Can’t wait for tomorrow.”
-Josh Majerus of Boone Central

“It was a great practice for those that were there. Most of the crew is still working to help bring home a state football title next week. For those that were in practice we really focused on movement, hand fighting and creating angles on offense. It is good to get back, but it will be even better when we have the whole team together.”
-Phil Payne of Centennial

“There is always just something in the air on the first practice of season. Whether it is the smell of freshly cleaned mats or the look on the faces of the wrestlers soaked with sweat while wearing extra layers. Anyone who is involved in the sport has to be excited to start the season. New goals to reach, the thrill of competition, and being around other members of the Nebraska wrestling family. I’d like to wish everyone a successful season this year! Go Twisters!”
-Matt Carroll of Cross County/Osceola

“I was pumped to start practice today. I was impressed with the level of excitement and energy the David City wrestlers brought to the room today. If we can keep the level of excitement and coach ability, we will be in for a great season!”
-Tahner Thiem of David City

“Our athletes opened up the year in our brand new wrestling room. Lots of excitement and enjoyment from all of our coaches and wrestlers. We have a lot of young kids coming up thru the ranks. Looks like a bright future for Fillmore Central Wrestling!!!!”
-Ryan Komenda of Fillmore Central

“There are some nice things about having a team as young as ours. The kids are enthusiastic and open minded. They don’t have ingrained bad habits. First practice was great, but A LOT to get covered.”
-Jim Andersen of Gibbon

“I was very encouraged with the focus and energy our guys brought to practice. With how young we are taken into consideration, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of these guys. They really set the bar for what we expect day in and day out. This team will go as far as they want to take it. Today was a giant step forward for a freshman/sophomore dominated roster. I’m very excited for this group of young men.”
-Cale Streeter of Hershey

“First 10 minutes of practice and first drill I’m demonstrating- I take an elbow to the lip and use up my blood time. It’s gonna be a good year.”
-Matt Coufal of Malcolm

“We had a lot of energy in our room on day 1, the guys came in ready to grind and we let it fly right away!”
-Joe Schluckebier of Milford

“With the football team in the finals, we won’t get to start wrestling until after Thanksgiving!”
-Henry Aschoff of Norfolk Catholic

“1st practice was great! Kids came ready and eager to learn. The kids with experience really did a nice job of focusing on little details of technique and the newer guys really gave great effort in trying out different things.”
-Jarod Owens of South Central Red Raiders

“We are getting these wrestlers back to the basics, back in shape, and practice was intense.”
-Dexter Becker of Southern Valley

“I was very excited to get the season underway today! We have 18 wrestlers out for our High School team this season and I look forward to some great things! We have a returning State Qualifier in Jaxson Jones and are heavy with underclassmen. Of our 18 wrestlers this year, 12 of them are either Sophomores or Freshman so we will need them to learn fast and play a big role on our team this season. We are going to practice intense and look to compete intense as well! Ready to continue things throughout this week and can’t wait for our first competition!”
-Kalin Koch of Twin River

Class D

“Cedar is still building our program, as this will be our 2nd season. We have 3 returners and have added 3 new wrestlers this season. With the girls district on the horizon, we have added 3 female wrestlers to total 4. They will participate in 6 all girls tournaments this season with the hopes of more. Our 2 returning male wrestlers have set some healthy goals for this season. We will compete in Iowa as well as Nebraska tournaments this season for both the Boys and Girls teams. All of wrestlers are working hard to begin competition on December 2nd with the Boys heading to Treynor Iowa and the Girls competing at Conestoga.”
-Jay Parker of Cedar Bluffs

“This is year two of my tenure as head coach, and this is a big year where we lay the foundation and culture of our program moving forward. We had a great first day, the intensity and effort level exceeded my expectations. We just have to keep building on each day to improve in the slightest of ways. We’re going to be young, but I think that we’re going to also be tough, and if we keep improving, there’s no limit to what this team can accomplish.”
-Trey Rossman of EPPJ (Elgin Public/Pope John)

“Nothing beats the first day of practice, and you can never get that back. The wrestlers are always eager to see how they have improved from what they have done in the off-season. It is always nice to get them in the room, where for the most part, they are healthy and fresh, plus none are cutting lots of weight yet.”
-Ryan Jones of Maxwell

“We have good numbers this year (11), every wrestler has some kind of wrestling experience. We do not have to spend a lot of time teaching the guys, we can pick up where we left last season and continue to polish skills. The boys are eager to get after it this season, we have a lot of experience returning this season along with good senior leadership.”
-Chris Placek of Meridian

“With the core of kids that we are returning and add in some quality freshmen, we will have a competitive team. Great first practice that helped us get 1% better today.”
-Dean Boyer of Plainview

Leave a Reply