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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

There’s no “I” in team

Yutan’s girls wrestling team strives for unity

One of the benefits of being on a varsity team is being able to learn from upperclassmen, but the Yutan girls wrestling team, consisting of just four freshmen and two sophomores, didn’t have the chance. Yet they were still able to adapt to have a successful season.

“As a team, we knew it was going to be difficult with almost all brand new wrestlers to be in a team race or a title, but we wanted to see all of the girls recognize how much improvement they each had from day one of the season,” girls head wrestling coach Michael Swanson said.

Even though there were some challenges with being an underclassmen team, freshman wrestler Leah Thompson saw this as an opportunity to improve.

“I think it almost gave us an advantage because while all these big teams with seniors and juniors who make up most of the team are winning, next year and the year after we will still have the same team and we will still be getting better,” Thompson said.

From left to right: Amalea Vaughn-Lantzer, Kylie Woster, Jordyn Campbell, Leah Thomspon, Ella Henkel and Nicole Wacker pose for a photo after the Nebraska City meet. The girls wrestling team placed 5th at this meet. (Courtesy Photo)

During the season, the wrestlers made up for their lack of experience by being willing to listen to their coaches’ advice.

“The girls teams are very good at responding to help from the corner, and they do a good job of adapting their style of wrestling so that they aren’t doing the same thing over and over when it’s not working,” Swanson said.

The girls also relied on another way to help improve each other and the team, which was team bonding. The girls have gone out to eat, gone shopping and after the season went to get their nails done.

“Our group is actually really good together,” sophomore wrestler Nicole Wacker said. “I think we all fit. We know how to move around each other. We know what to do, we’re synced kind of.”

All the bonding that was done turned out to be successful, which is why when sophomore wrestler Jordyn Campbell was asked to describe the team in one word, she chose “family.”

“I think that we have a really great bond, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” Campbell said.

The team bonding and coach tips helped them enter sub-districts with a positive attitude, though the inexperience came into play when all but Campbell lost in heartbreaks at sub-districts. Freshman wrestler Kylie Woster wishes she would have wrestled harder.

“I feel like I definitely could have beat her (my opponent), but I was in my head before the match even started,” Woster said.

Beyond mindset issues, some wrestlers faced physical issues.

“I was ready to qualify, but I was wrestling with a broken hand,”  freshman wrestler Ella Henkel said.

Instead of being upset about the losses, however, freshman wrestler Amalea Vaughn-Lantzer plans to use it as fuel for next year.

“I will have more confidence in what I’m doing,” Vaughn-Lantzer said.

The lone wrestler who made it out of sub-districts and districts, qualifying for state, was Campbell, who was a returning state medalist. Even though the rest of the team lost, they still showed up to support Campbell on her journey to the top.

The girls wrestling pose for a photo in the dressing room at Target. The girls went out to eat, got their nails done and then went to Target to get ice cream and try on clothes. (Courtesy Photo)

“I was nervous even though I wasn’t the one wrestling. Being there just to watch Jo was amazing,” Wacker said.

Campbell had some challenges along the way to the state title. One of the challenges for Campbell was getting past losing to previous teammate and defending state champion Aubrie Pehrson during the season and eventually at districts.

“I think that was the biggest thing that was a block, and I needed to really put that mental toughness to the test to be able to push past that,” Campbell said.

Campbell’s mental toughness helped her win each of her matches against opponents from Seward, Arlington, O’Neil and finally Weeping Water, ending the tournament as a state champion.

“It was surreal to win state and to have my family down on the floor and my dad in my corner to experience that with me was very special,” said Campbell.

Having Campbell’s teammates there was meaningful as well.

“I felt really supported and grateful to have a team of girls who care about my success along with theirs,” Campbell said.

Winning the state title was the  best possible outcome for Campbell’s season, and while the rest of the team was on there as support at state, they still look back on their season as a success also.

“I’m happy how it ended. Although it could’ve ended better, it definitely could’ve gone worse,” Thompson said. “So instead of looking at the things I failed at, I look at the things I accomplished.”

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About the Contributor
Anna Rupp
Anna Rupp, Sophomore writer
Anna Rupp is a sophomore and in her second year of journalism.  She enjoys photography. Outside journalism, Anna is involved in wrestling and band.
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