Chadron State enters this season with a lot of their lineup from last year returning. The Eagles will be lead by two returning national qualifiers in Wade French at 197 pounds and Chase Clasen at 149 pounds. Chadron State also returns Hastings graduate, Brandon Kile who just barely missed out on nationals with a fourth place finish. Chadron State also added a lot of depth to the team with a big recruiting class of ten kids. Six are from Nebraska, Gavin Peitzmeier from Millard South, Evan Waddington from Wood River, Harrison Gocke from York, Damien Kersten from Battle Creek, Ryder Fuchs from Peirce, and Seth Simants from Stapleton.
Returning French and Clasen is a big deal to Coach Hunter, he said “Those two guys are proven on the mat. Having them back and in leadership roles is a huge benefit. They do all the right things on and off the mat. They are natural leaders, and do a great job. They are very valuable for the program. They continue to do the right thing.” It will be their leadership that Coach Hunter will rely on to take this team to the next level. It is a talented group with nine upperclassman.
Having an older team, and a team that has guys with a lot of experience will really help build depth for the future with such a big incoming class. Guys coming back really helps a program. “It really helps, we have done a great job of retaining guys this year. We only lost two guys from last years team. We have good depth. Returning guys from last year, with our culture and our consistency, will be very good for our team and the future. It is something I hope we can build on” Coach Hunter said. Chadron state will have a good mixture of old and young in their lineup.
Among the young guys making a big impression is Freshman, Tate Stoddard. He is a four time state champion from Glenrock, Wyoming. Evan Waddington and Damien Kersten. Hunter also said when asked about the Freshman, “We have a lot of young guys doing really well. These freshman are a lot of small town guys. They need some time with technique and adapting to the college level. They are a lot further along then I expected though. They get better and better each day.” It is expected in that first year to be a bit of a transition. With so many upper class man it will be valuable to get the young guys to a lot of opens.
Chadron State loaded up the front side of their schedule with the Cowboy Open, Nebraska Duals, where they will wrestle Nebraska, and a Dual at Northern Colorado. The Cowboy Open will be a spot for a lot of the young guys to make a first impression. Duals against Nebraska, Hastings, and Northern Colorado is something Coach Hunter is really looking foreword too. “It will really help with where we want to be. It will be a great opportunity for guys. We will see what kind of shape we are in.” It will not get much easier along the way. Chadron State will be in the same Regional as last year, down in Kearney.
Chadron State will have wrestle offs coming up over the weekend, so nothing is final. Here is what I think the projected lineup could look like.
125 Tate Stoddard
133 Brandon Kile
141 Joe Ritzen
149 Evan Waddington, Colten Adams, Jake Utuafi
157 Chase Clasen
165 Tate Allison
174 Gavin Eason
184 Terry Winstead
197 Wade French
285 Mason Watt, Eli Hinijosa
Chadron State Schedule
11/2 Cowboy Open (Laramie, WY)
11/7 @ Nebraska
11/7 vs Hastings (Lincoln, NE)
11/10 @Northern Colorado (Greeley, CO)
11/14 vs Western Colorado University
11/16 @ Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, CO)
11/23 UNK Holiday Inn Open (Kearney, NE)
12/7 Fort Hays Bob Smith Open (Hays, KS)
12/11 vs Western Colorado Community College
12/12 vs Nebraska-Kearney
12/14 vs Cloud County Community College
1/10 San Francisco State Quad (San Francisco, CA)
vs Simon Frazier University
vs Minnesota State
vs San Francisco State University
1/16 vs New Mexico Highlands
1/18 vs Colorado State-Pueblo
1/19 vs Colorado School of Mines
1/25 Midwest Duals (Kearney, NE)
2/1 @Northeastern Junior College (Sterling,CO)
2/6 vs Adams State University
2/9 Rocky Mountain Open (Golden, CO)
2/29 NCAA Division II Super Regional (Kearney, NE)
3/13 NCAA Divison II National Championships (Sioux Falls, SD)