This season, Central wrestling has experience and expectations

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

As the winter sports season commences, a familiar name echoes across the coaching landscape at Central, that of Joe Koehn, who led the Warriors football program this past fall in his first stint as head coach. He returns now, not to the gridiron, but to the wrestling mat for his third year as the head coach. 

It was a love for wrestling and the experience of wrestling in high school that lured Koehn to the job. This year comes with high expectations for an experienced team and a coach who seems to thrive on competition. 

“I have high expectations for this season. We only lost one wrestler from last year, so we return a lot of experience [and] these kids have been chomping at the bit to get on the mat and start competing,” Koehn said. 

Those expectations come knowing that the team will be physically prepared and mentally tough, working and training under the belief that practice breeds success and you only get what you earn. 

While wrestling is a team sport, it is almost entirely individualistic. There is no hiding behind other team members. You either did your job, or you didn’t. 

“My favorite thing about wrestling is that you have to do your individual job correct for the team to have success and you can’t blame it on anyone else. You have to put the work in to be successful…You deserve what you earn. Tom Brands said that, and it really comes into play with wrestling,” Koehn preached. 

Along with the preparation for matches, the team must also prepare for COVID-19.

“The most difficult thing about COVID is that we don’t know if tomorrow could be our last practice. So, we need to not take every day for granted and work our butts off,” Koehn said. 

Koehn insists Central is following all the guidelines, cleaning the mats twice at practice, the kids are getting body wipes after practice and they have been staying in pods to make it easier to trace exposure. 

With all the challenges, the team has the experience in the coaching position and in the wrestlers to pull it off. 

“This team is a growing team and has been making strides throughout the past few years, and it makes me very excited for the future,” Koehn said.

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