MFL MarMac wrestlers healthy, ready to grapple with challenging schedule

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Members of the MFL MarMac wrestling team include (front, left to right) managers Emma Keehner and Eden Heying, cheerleaders Kira Krueger, Kyleigh Picha, Chloe Diehl, Kaitlyn Berns, Brenna Boland and Haylie Smith, managers Rose Koehn and Kaylee Bachman; (middle) Kashton Mathis, Andrew Heins, Jack Vorwald, Caleb Nordheim, Chaise Ziegler, Jacob Trudo, Zach Howe, Gabe McGeough, Max Havlicek, Austin Nickolai, Logan Brown; (back) assistant coaches Collin Stubbs and Mike Meyer, Nathan Johanningmeier, Korby Keehner, Dylan Corlett, Garret Keehner, Zach Trudo, Hunter Miller, Michael Egan, Ethan Stubbs, assistant coaches Chip McGeough and Tracy Decker, and head coach Chet Bachman. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Riddled by the injury bug last season, the MFL MarMac wrestling team is healthy and ready to take on one of its most challenging schedules ever. 

“We’re wrestling down by Missouri in a tournament with 16 teams. We’re wrestling Lisbon and we’re gonna go wrestle Lake Mills, a top-five team,” said head coach Chet Bachman. “We wrestle 30 duals. That’s unreal.” 

Bachman said the Bulldog wrestlers will get 50 to 60 matches this year—an unheard of amount. It’s important, he added, to put them in places and positions they’ve never been in. 

“It makes them realize, ‘I’ve got to do more than what I’m doing or I’ve got to work on some things to help down the road,’” he explained. “Down the road, sectionals are here. That’s going to be tougher than last year. But once you get out of that sectional, you should be in a good spot.” 

MFL MarMac has an experienced team that boasts four state qualifiers: seniors Michael Egan, Korby Keehner and Nathan Johanningmeier and junior Ethan Stubbs. Egan, who’s looking to make the state tournament for the fourth year, has emerged as one of the team’s leaders, Bachman said. He finished sixth at state last year, despite suffering from a torn ACL. According to Bachman, Egan is ready to go at 110 percent. 

Keehner, who missed much of last season with an injury, is ready to go too. 

“Korby, coming off an injury, is hungry,” Bachman stated. “Each week, I see just a bit more out of him.” 

Other key returners include seniors Garret Keehner, Hunter Miller, Dylan Corlett and Zach Trudo; juniors Zach Howe and Chaise Ziegler; and sophomores Max Havlicek and Jacob Trudo. 

MFL MarMac will also benefit from a strong group of freshmen, including Gabe McGeough, Kashton Mathis, Jack Vorwald, Andrew Heins and Caleb Nordheim. 

“All the freshmen are going to help us out,” Bachman said. 

There’s some overlap at certain weights, but Bachman doesn’t foresee a problem. 

“That’s just the nature of the beast,” he remarked. “It usually figures itself out as the season goes on.” 

Bachman has known his wrestlers since they were in elementary school, first as their PE teacher and later as a coach. Over the summer, he and the other coaches got to know the guys even better, when the team made a trip to Colorado as part of their own wrestling camp. 

In addition to that team building, Bachman said the MFL MarMac wrestling program has also updated its practice and training regimen, hoping to combat monotony. With so many matches, the wrestlers can also get worn out, so it’s important to get creative and change things up. 

“One of the things we’re doing is spending more time in the weight room, and then we’ve also incorporated morning practices. So we’re working out two times per day—shorter but harder. It’s been good,” he said. 

The weightlifting sessions can get emotional. 

“There needs to be a little bit of yelling and emotion when you’re lifting,” Bachman shared. “If you’re not, then the investment isn’t going to be very much. And if you don’t have very much invested physically and mentally in what you’re doing, then you’re not going to expect much. And if you don’t expect much, then your overall participation and competition is probably not going to fulfill the goals that you want.” 

Bachman said the Bulldogs are working on their goal-setting now more than anything. They’ve met with coaching staff, establishing their goals and how they’ll reach them. The wrestlers will take the goals with them outside the wrestling room—putting them beside their bed, in their lockers—then re-evaluate them mid-season. 

“In years past, it’s always been win this, win that, beat these guys. This year, it’s been more of a creative style of ‘Let things fly early in the year, get after it, get yourself ready for January,’” Bachman explained. “In January, you start to hone the skills you have and get better at what you’re doing—more reps, learn to scramble. Those type of goals.” 

These goals will “take care of the other stuff,” according to Bachman. 

“So instead of ‘win this and win that,’ it’s ‘what I have to do to win that, what I have to do to beat this team, what I have to do to win conference,’” he added. “I think the biggest thing is stay together, keep coming every day and stay healthy, take care of your body, eat smart, train smart. You do all those things, and I think it’ll take care of itself.” 

The MFL MarMac wrestling team will begin its season this Thursday, Nov. 29, at Starmont. 

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