The Scott West Panthers wrestling team was dethroned from the top of the Section 2AA wrestling heap by the Hutchinson Tigers a season ago and will look to regain its perch in 2021.
Jerold Stauffacher has taken sole possession of the reigns as the program’s head coach this season, and the Panthers are currently ranked #11 in the The Guillotine’s Jan. 10 poll.
Section 2AA foe Tri-City United is ranked 12th, while Hutchinson is receiving votes in the lean and mean.
The entire schedule will be a dual meet format this season as a result of Covid-19. The Panthers are slated to start the season on Thursday, Jan. 14, when it welcomes Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran to Jordan High School.
On Saturday, Jan. 16, the squad will get an early season look at TCU when it participates in a triangular at TCU. Tuesday, Jan. 19 features a trip to Maple River for a triangular with Maple River and Westfield.
While the Panthers feature a trio of highly-ranked wrestlers, Stauffacher said how the Panthers come together as a team will determine its season.
“We have a couple talented young men in the lower weights, but we are going to need this group to wrestle as a team even more so than we maybe have in the past at Scott West,” Stauffacher said. “Two or three guys can’t win a dual alone, it takes 14 guys doing their part to win.”
Junior Zach Tracy took third at 106 pounds a season ago, finishing 39-8. He is ranked fourth at 120 pounds to start the season.
Matt Randolph, a freshman, is ranked #1 at 106 pounds, but could start the season wrestling at 113. Senior Luke Fogarty, who qualified for the state tournament last year, is currently ranked #7 at 160 pounds.
Austin Eyrich, Landon Church, Adam Kelvinton, and Tory Pumper are strong candidates to fill the line up from 126 to 138 pounds.
Cole Callahan and Ashton Holbrook will compete for spots in the middle of the lineup. Tristian Holbrook, Jack Wiese, Hunter Kasnicka, and Dylan Thomas could fall into the 170-182 range, and Collin Fahey, Blake Reimer, Gavin Fahey, Will Fahey, and Carson Schoenbauer are candidates to round out the lineup.
“This team by the end of the year has the ability to be at or near the top of the section,” Stauffacher said. “We have a good mix of young and older guys so we will see if we can stay healthy and continue to improve as the year goes on.”
Stauffacher anticipates that one thing won’t change with the Panthers approach, and that is to compete at every opportunity and stay in the battles of each match.
“It’s tough to continue to fight and compete when maybe you are not winning or supposed to win,” he said. “The goal is to get these guys to believe the hard work they are putting in will pay off and produce results.”
Staying healthy will also be important for this year’s team, and stressing the importance of doing little things right. “You do enough little things right, and you will win matches,” Stauffacher said.
The Panthers have not named captains for this year’s team, according to Stauffacher.
“Waiting to see who steps forward to lead this group.”
Scott West Wrestling Schedule as of Jan. 12
Jan. 14: 7:00 p.m. vs. Watertown-Mayer @ Jordan High School
Jan. 15: 1:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Tri-City United High School
Jan. 19: 5:00 p.m. vs. Maple River @ Maple River High School
Jan. 22: 5:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Annandale High School
Jan. 28: 5:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Woodbury High School
Feb. 4: 5:00 p.m. vs Multiple Schools @ BPHS North Gym Feb. 10: 5:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Eden Prairie High School
Feb. 13: 10:00 a.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Eagan High School
Feb. 16: 5:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Becker High School
Feb. 20: 10:00 a.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Jordan High School
Feb. 25: 5:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Mankato East High School
Feb. 27 at 10:00 a.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Coon Rapids High School
Mar. 4: 5:00 p.m. vs. Multiple Schools @ Prior Lake High School