By Jason Arndt

While coach Jason Ladd continues to develop the Westosha Central High School wrestling program this season, he will look to four key seniors to shoulder heavy responsibility, including two returning WIAA Division 1 sectional qualifiers.

Joining qualifiers Reid McNeill (195) and Zach Bell (182), the two other seniors are Dennis Grubb (152) and Keegan Jones (126).

“I am expecting a lot of my seniors, whether it is Dennis, Keegan, Reid or Zach,” Ladd said. “They have wrestled on varsity for three years, and a little freshman year too.”

Although two of four seniors qualified for sectionals a year ago, both Grubb and Jones had an opportunity to move forward, but came down with late season injuries and could take the next step in 2017-18.

Reid McNeill

The Falcons, who tied for sixth in the final Southern Lakes Conference standings last year, also bring back junior sectional qualifier Jefferson Kearby.

Kearby, who advanced at 132 pounds, started his junior season up one weight class at 138.

Junior Sean Gulliksen (160) and Nick Trecker (132) are also back for another year.

Meanwhile, in other weight classes, Ladd plans to give wrestlers in the junior varsity ranks a look at the start of the season.

Despite a young squad in other weight classes, Ladd is challenging his team to produce a breakthrough season, including the defeat of some unbeatable opponents.

“We are going to have to turn the corner and start beating some guys people don’t expect us to beat,” he said. “We are just hoping to make that breakthrough here at some point.”

Considering early observations, including a visibly stronger group compared to last year, the breakthrough is possible.

“They worked really hard and put in extra time this summer,” Ladd said.

As the team continues to grow, Ladd believes two SLC squads pose the largest challenge, Burlington and Elkhorn.

“Burlington is loaded for the next few years, their strong class is their sophomore c lass and they got stronger,” he said. “Elkhorn has been talented for many years.”


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