Panthers hit the mat today
The Rugby High School wrestling season starts today at the New Town Invite, where the Panthers will see much of Region 3 and Class A’s Minot High and Turtle Mountain.
The goal is simple: extend matches to gain as much experience as possible.
“We’re not worried about pinning people,” RHS coach Craig Zachmeier said. “I want six-minute matches, period. I don’t care if (opponents are) on their back the first period. They’re told they’re not allowed to pin anybody. We need the mat time and you get a lot more out of losing a six-minute match than you do pinning somebody in 20 seconds. So that’s the one rule that we’re gonna put into place is they’re not allowed to pin anybody until that third period.”
Junior Reid Mundahl (145 pounds) is eager to start a fifth season with the Panthers and said the first-tournament jitters are always there.
“The first match always, but after that you loosen out and get going,” Mundahl said. “I’ve been working hard. I’ve been working on wrestling live, working on getting our stamina built up. If we all wrestle hard we should do pretty good.”?Zachmeier believes his team is well conditioned, but knows the first meet is usually a greater test of that than even the toughest practices. His boys will be expected to score on their feet.
“We should be able to go 10 minutes pretty easy, but live action’s always different,” Zachmeier said.
The coach is back at the helm after a year away and getting a feel for a talented squad, which boasts at least eight wrestlers contending for top-8 finishes at the state tournament in February.
“All the kids have really stepped up,” Zachmeier said. “Our younger guys – those junior high kids – are setting great examples up in the room. Their work ethic is there. They’re not set in their ways so they’re real coachable. Our older kids are starting to get into the groove, but the younger kids are easier to coach. The older kids are starting to step it up now that they know competition’s closer than three weeks away.”