GLADWIN – The Gladwin Wrestling Team was just three points away from making the state team finals last year. Coach Buddy Goldsworthy thinks that this years team has the potential to go even farther. He believes that with the right focus this team can get to the next level. “We want to be a top ten type of team.”
This year’s team has a nice blend of experienced and new wrestlers. Three of those experienced wrestlers, Dillon Kroening, James Bailey and Randy Pyrzewski qualified for the state finals last year. While some of the new wrestlers are rather “raw” Goldsworthy mentioned that they also don’t have a lot of “bad habits.”
One of those new wrestlers is senior Jerod Guoan. Goldsworthy has been impressed with his effort so far. “He works very hard, stays after practice, and does everything you want someone to do.” Other seniors on the team are Dillon Kroening and James Bailey. Both qualified for the individual state finals last season with Kroening finishing second. Other returning wrestlers include: Chance Breault, Arlen Little, Kyle Campbell, Devin Brewer, Hunter Huguelet.
I had the opportunity to talk to the Gladwin seniors this week after practice. They are a confident, but cautious group. Both Kroening and Bailey have had a taste of the atmosphere at Ford Field and want more this year. Kroening finished second last year so of course his individual goal is a state championship. Bailey wants to finish on the podium with a medal. Team wise, they want to reach the state finals. Kroening believes that it is important for the team to “stay disciplined and work hard throughout the year.” Bailey added that it is a “team effort.”
While Guoan doesn’t really not what to expect he is glad that he made the decision to wrestle. As you can imagine he is sorry that he didn’t do so earlier.
The Flying G’s will wrestle a tougher schedule this year. Goldsworthy believes that if the program is going to reach its goal of becoming a Top Ten type of team a tougher schedule was necessary. They will be facing teams like Chippewa Hills, currently ranked in the top 5, in the tournament so to be ready he has upgraded the regular season schedule. “On any given day the way that my guys work versus anyone else I’ll put us out there with anyone,” he said. “This group is what’s going to propel us for the next four years,” and he wants them to be ready.
Goldsworthy believes this team has good leadership and focus. He also believes that this group is going to set the tone for the next generation of Gladwin wrestlers. “They want to have an impact that goes beyond wrestling. They want to have an impact on each other and leave a legacy.” After talking to Kroening and listening to the desire in his voice I believe that they will.
Gladwin travels to Beaverton for a preseason scrimmage with several other teams this Friday at 6:30 p.m. They will be hosting the seasons next Jack Pine Conference Quad next Wednesday at 6 p.m.