Wrestling team sets sights on state duals, state tournament

After a successful 2020-2021 season, this year’s Yutan wrestling team has its sights set on state duals and the state tournament, even though the season hasn’t started yet.

Senior Josh Jessen tires to escape opponent at conference meet last year. Jessen’s record last season was 36-11. (Heidi Krajicek)

In the 2020-2021 season, the wrestling team won multiple meets, went undefeated in their duals and placed second as a team in their district. The team also had a school-record six state qualifiers with two of them medaling. All the success the team has had in the past is making head coach Jason Arlt confident in the wrestling team getting to state duals.

State duals pit the top eight teams in the state against each other and the team that wins more duals there is crowned state champions. In order to qualify for state duals, a team cannot lose a single dual in their schedule, which is difficult to do since duals are based completely on team points, meaning every member of the team needs to contribute. Yet Arlt and his team are determined to be one of the best eight teams in the state. 

“We have a great chance to qualify for state duals and make some noise when we get there,” Arlt said. “We have kids who are confident and aren’t afraid of using the tools they have to go for big wins.”

Arlt is not the only one showing confidence in his team. Returning state medalist senior Josh Jessen is also confident in the team reaching state duals. 

“I think it’s one-hundred-percent doable,” Jessen said. “We have a very solid team pretty much in all weight classes.”

One factor that could help the team achieve this goal is the amount of time they have spent in the weight room.

“We (coaches) are confident that the kids have put the time in in the weight room,” Arlt said. “We are confident that we can be disciplined and committed to what needs to be done.” 

Beyond the state duals, another goal for the team is to have more wrestlers qualify for and medal at the state tournament.

“I’d like some of the same people to make state,” Jessen said. “Along with myself.”

Arlt and the team know that wrestling comes with many challenges, but they understand that the right amount of support will help everyone overcome every obstacle.

“The team needs to always support each other,” Arlt said. “They need to show commitment to each other and be happy for each other’s success.”