Boys wrestling team strives to repeat, exceed past successes

The wrestling team poses with the first place team trophy at the DC West dual tournament in 2022. The Chieftains overcame a close dual with Concordia-DC West to claim the title and clinch a state dual berth. Top row left to right: Brett Martin, Bryce Kolc, Isaac Kult, Derek Wacker, Josh Jessen, Jett Arensberg, Jesse Keiser, Josh Fisher. Bottom row left to right: Nathan Rupp, Tannen Honke, Zach Krajicek, Janson Pilkington, Drew Krajicek, Max Egr, Trevin Arlt. Courtesy Photo

Sending six boys to state. Qualifying for state duals for the first time in the program’s history. These were some of the accomplishments by the Yutan wrestling team during the 2021-2022 season. Having such a successful season is hard to follow, but this year’s team is ready for the challenge.

“State duals was a great post-season experience that also taught us some lessons,” head coach Jason Arlt said. “We will be more prepared for post-season wrestling and what needs to be done this year.”

The team, along with the coaches, has high hopes of sending more people to state as well as sending the team to state duals again. To achieve these goals, Arlt provided the wrestlers with countless opportunities to improve in the off-season.

“All have had opportunities for off-season improvement with camps, summer weekly workouts, club wrestling and weight room work,” Arlt said. “[I will] develop tough practices so that nothing in a live match will surprise them.”

Individual wrestlers will also be making their own adjustments, like junior Derek Wacker, who qualified for state last year but fell just short of medaling.

“[I am going to] work a lot more technique and try to get into situations that involve being smart,” Wacker said. “[You] gotta have good partners and [be] willing to go 100% in practice in order to get good at those situations.”

By building on his technique and working hard in practices, Wacker thinks he has what it takes for a great season.

“I got good coaches in my corner and a lot of good partners to practice with,” Wacker said. “I need to start winning more meets and winning those close and tough matches that will kind of improve how I think, confidence-wise.”

 Junior Jesse Kult, another returning state qualifier, is also making adjustments to place at state this year.

“I’m gonna practice on attacking more on my feet because that’s the main thing that made me lose matches last year,” Kult said. “I’m going to try to attack more on my feet, so I can score more points.”

Other wrestlers on the team are hoping for their first chance at making it to state. Senior Jett Arensberg hopes to accomplish this goal by maintaining his intensity and motivation throughout the whole season.

Senior Jett Arensberg pins his opponent at the 2022 Yutan Invite. Arensberg was one match short of making it to state last year. (Heidi Krajicek)

“I want to keep momentum through the whole year,” Arensberg said. “Don’t burn out too soon.” 

While he is working hard at practices, Arensberg is excited to wrestle at tournaments.

“I love seeing fresh competition that’s different than our partners that we wrestle with every single day,” Arensberg said.

Each of the wrestlers has their own individual goals, but they also have goals for the team. 

“I like the team this year,” Kult said. “I think we got good chemistry already, so I think we have a chance to make it to state duals.”

The main goal that coach Dan Krajicek has for the team this year is to see everyone “just reach their potential.”

“You can’t control a lot of things,” Krajicek said. “If there happens to be somebody better than you out there… all you can do is wrestle as well as you can.”