Central wrestling team has more experience and new goals

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The Central wrestling team includes (front, left to right) manager Regan Rosol, Daniel Royer, Kimberly Suhr, Reese Berns, Tori Sylvester, Joel Thiese, manager Tessa Sylvester; (back) assistant coach Tim Rupard, Nick Deitchler, Brandy Beatty, Sean Wilwert, Rebecca Suhr, Nate Shirbroun and head coach Joe Koehn. Not pictured is Sam Fettkether.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


“My expectation this year is to have a better season than last and make sure everyone is having fun, while at the same time getting pushed to the best of their capabilities.” 


That’s how Central wrestling coach Joe Koehn summed up his expectations for the upcoming wrestling season that presents a brand new set of challenges. Chief among them is the low numbers returning for the boys, which can impact how the Warriors do overall as a team.


But in the face of such adversity, Koehn highlighted the opportunity the low numbers present in terms of being able to focus more on the individuals and improving their abilities. Then there is the fact that while the numbers are low, the boys return a lot of experience from last season in a group of wrestlers who, according to Koehn, “put work in over the summer and are ready to compete.” 


Among those returners are lone senior Sean Wilwert, who is a two-time district qualifier, and juniors Nick Deitchler, a 30-plus match winner last year, Daniel Royer, also a 30-plus match winner, and Nate Shirbroun, who was a conference runner-up a year ago. In addition, the team returns sophomore Sam Fettkether and added a newcomer, sophomore Joel Thiese. 


The girls team returns two program veterans in senior Brandy Beatty, who won a match at state last season, and junior Rebecca Suhr. The team also added four newcomers with Kimberly Suhr, Reese Berns, who was a three-time AAU Girls State place winner, and Tori and Tessa Sylvester. 


Koehn is focused on improving areas where his squad struggled last season, such as overcoming silly mistakes or flat-footedness that cost victories. Part of this approach was the implementation of routines in practice to build foot speed and help build core and back strength, something Koehn started in the junior high program. 


Koehn is also making a greater effort to focus on individuals, to help them correct errors and become more successful. It’s about understanding the process and being comfortable with it, and this one-on-one approach looks to do that. Once this is accomplished, Koehn believes “winning and losing will take care of itself.”


Another aspect Koehn learned last season was the importance of maintaining team attitude, something he believes will be easier this season with a group of athletes who are seeking not just individual success, but team success as well. 


“I have changed a little bit how I have coached. I am going to make sure that all mindsets are toward getting themselves and the team better and not toward bringing down the team,” Koehn said. 


Part of that coaching philosophy and maintaining a mindset that is uplifting is how Koehn defines success, which similarly to all the coaches at Central, isn’t based simply on how many wins, but how many times the athletes get back in the arena and try. 


“I define success as how far they can get as a technician and how much they want to push themselves mentally. As a coach, I am always looking for ways to push the kids and how I can change my coaching perspective for the better. We want to push ourselves individually and make hard working young men and women out of the deal as well,” Koehn said. 


It’s an approach that will undergo its first test on Nov. 30, when the girl’s team holds its first meet of the season at home. The boys will follow with a Dec. 2 meet at Edgewood-Colesburg. 


Koehn continues to steer the team in the right direction, setting higher goals and moving the bar to consistently meet them. It’s about staying hungry, or as Koehn puts it to the wrestlers, “A hungry wolf is a mean wolf. If you are hungry, you fight for everything you get and you only deserve what you earn.”

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