How does the Waunakee wrestling team plan to follow up what was a banner 2018-19 season?
“We just have to bring our best every time that we step on the mat,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Mark Natzke, entering his eighth year leading the program. “We have been at the top of the conference the last two years and had teams looking to knock us off. We have risen to that challenge, but our kids aren’t satisfied; they want more.”
After the Warriors sent six wrestlers to state and claimed sole possession of the Badger North Conferennce title a season ago, Waunakee is considered one of the top teams in the state to begin the 2019-20 season. The Warriors head into winter as the sixth-ranked team in the state for Division 1, according to wiwrestling.com.
Leading the way are a quartet of wrestlers who competed in last year’s state tournament; seniors Colton Grindle and Berhett Statz, along with juniors Sam Lorenz and Kolby Heinz will create a formidable middle of the lineup between 120 pounds and 182 pounds for the Warriors.
Bolstering the senior class is Nick Schweitzer – who placed second at last year’s Badger Conference Tournament and narrowly missed out on a berth at state himself – and Kyle Wilcox, while juniors Braysen Ellis and Dan Ford and sophomore Kaden Hooker bring plenty of varsity experience from a season ago, as well.
“Having 10 guys that qualified for sectionals and wrestled a full year of varsity last year, we are expecting them to continue to improve and take the next step this year to be even better,” added Natzke.
The Warriors will need a handful of wrestlers to step into larger roles this season to complete their lineup. They’ll need contributions from every weight class in order to continue progressing as a team.
“We are looking to add another conference title, get back to team sectionals and take the next step and look to qualify for the state team tournament,” Natzke said.
After a preseason scrimmage at Middleton on Nov. 26, the Warriors will kick off their season at home when they take on the Thunderbirds of Baraboo in a Badger North dual. Start time at the Waunakee High School Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m.