Returning four state qualifiers, MFL MarMac hopes for another strong year

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Pictured (front, left to right) are cheerleaders Scotlyn Coenen and Chloe Diehl, Austin Nickolai, Logan Engelhardt, Chaise Ziegler, Max Havlicek, Ethan Stubbs, Zach Howe, cheerleaders Kaitlyn Berns and Brenna Boland; (middle) manager Eden Heying, cheerleader Sierra Wiebensohn, Hunter Miller, Korby Keehner, Dylan Corlett, Jacob Trudo, Zach Trudo, Michael Egan, Nathan Johanningmeier, cheerleaders Brooklyn Landt and Jerica Meana; (back) manager Emma Keehner, assistant coaches Collin Stubbs and Mike Meyer, Keaton Dettman, Avrey Smith, Brady Olson, Austin Ruff, assistant coach Tracy Decker, head coach Chet Bachman and manager Chelbe Feuerhelm. Not pictured are Garret Keehner and assistant coach Travis Johnson. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The MFL MarMac wrestling team had a successful 2016-2017 season, earning conference and sectional championships. A record seven wrestlers competed at districts, with four of them advancing to state. This year, they hope to keep that momentum going.

Head coach Chet Bachman said the team goes into the season looking to do well, “but you never know where you’re going to end up.”

“We expect to compete hard every time,” he shared. “Never quit, never give up, don’t care about who you’re wrestling, put your best technique out there. If you put that together, that should take care of the rest.”

With 18 wrestlers, MFL MarMac is smaller than in previous years, but Bachman said all weight classes should be filled. For this team, he noted, it’s quality over quantity.

Bachman said the Bulldogs will be bolstered by last season’s state qualifiers, juniors Korby Keehner (220, who was also a medalist), Michael Egan (132) and Nathan Johanningmeier (170), as well as sophomore Ethan Stubbs (113). Junior Garret Keehner (182/195) and senior Brady Olson (145), who both narrowly missed advancing to state last season, will also be important contributors.

“Brady Olson is my leader,” Bachman said. “He leads by example.”

Other key returners include seniors Avrey Smith (160) and Austin Ruff (170), junior Zach Trudo (138) and sophomore Zach Howe (145). 

In addition, the team will look for freshmen Logan Engelhardt (106) and Max Havlicek (126) to step up. Freshman Jacob Trudo will play a big role at heavyweight. He’s young, but Bachman said Trudo’s time in the program—and all the good coaches involved with it—have prepared him and other young wrestlers.

“We’ve been working with him for a long time. We’ve been working with these kids since second grade,” he stated, adding that the team’s off-season work is also helpful.

Faced with a changing district this season, Bachman said practices have become more challenging. 

“If you’re going to wrestle tough competition, you have to train for it,” he said. “This may be the toughest I’ve seen in 1A. Northeast Iowa can be pretty brutal for wrestling.”

MFL MarMac’s schedule features a good balance of both dual meets and tournaments, where the team will face stiffer competition, Bachman said.

“It’s important to balance it out,” he noted. “We’re really geared up for the team to do well at conference, tournaments and meets. The team has always come first, then what’s best for the individual.”

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