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Ready to Rumble

By Staff | Dec 4, 2015

Kaden Jaeger and Joey Berg work on moves during practice to prepare for the season. (Ashley Burkhartsmeier/PCT)

To have a successful wrestling program you have to start with a successful coach. Being a successful wrestling coach requires more than experience and the ability to teach the proper techniques and maneuvers for every situation. The coach also needs to understand how to motivate and inspire his wrestlers. Wrestling is such a physically demanding sport that a coach needs to be able to convince his players that their hard work day-in and day-out during practice and over the summer will be worth it not just on the mat but in life. With Coach Craig Zachmeier at the helm of Rugby’s wrestling program you have just that and more.

We had a chance to meet with Zachmeier and get his perspective on this year’s team that has graduated three quality seniors from last year’s squad. Coach Zachmeier said about these graduating seniors. ” We lost three good leaders, Devon Berg, Reid Mundahl, and Bennie Mygland when you are without these kind of quality wrestlers of course you feel the sting.”

This year’s team is very much youth orientated with one lone senior on the squad, Spencer Koehmstedt. According to Coach Zachmeier they are going to lean heavily on Koehmstedt, who will probably wrestle in the 220 or 285-pound class, for leadership.

Upon this year’s expectations Coach Zachmeier said, “They are young but as a team they will be better than last year because they have so much talent. These kids from our sophomore and freshman group have been wrestling since first grade, and even though they are young age wise, in experience they are seasoned veterans who have varsity wrestling experience. I am expecting a lot from the freshman and sophomores this year.”

Coach Zachmeier is looking to learn, teach, and build from the early matches so his team is ready for the regionals and state tournaments and it all starts today in Velva. ” I am looking forward to building, every tournament before state is a building tournament; we are going to get into the season nice and slow and learn from every practice and from every match”, said Coach Zachmeier

What makes Coach Zachmeier special is that when he talks about teaching and building he is looking beyond the mat; he is looking at life and how these kids will grow to be productive long after the final whistle blows. “Wrestling is not just a sport but it is a character builder. It teaches a lot of life lessons that these kids will need later. It teaches discipline, you have to sacrifice, you have to develop a strong work ethic to be successful on the mat and in life”, shared Coach Zachmeier

“Just to get through a practice can be a goal, because that is how tough it gets sometimes. The physical and mental challenges that you overcome will benefit you now and for years to come. You have to reach down deep and have a lot of heart to wrestle. The dedication to be successful is not measured in pins but in the determination it takes to compete and finish what you started even though your body screams to quit”, concluded Coach Zachmeier.

Coach Zachmeier feels Velva is the top team right now in their way to state, followed by Minot Ryan, but feels his team can compete with anyone at the region level. State wise Carrington returning three state champions gives Coach Zachmeier some consternation, “it will be tough to compete with Carrington and their experience especially when you have six freshman, three sophomores, one senior on your team and filling in with Junior High kids, but I know we will not raise the white flag to anyone!”

Rugby is returning four state qualifiers: Spencer Koehmstedt, Kaden Jaeger, Joey Berg, and Riley Zachmeier. Of those Spencer and Riley have been to the state tournament twice, both have won matches at the state tournament.

Coach Zachmeier said, “I would expect all four of those kids to be at the top of the region and I also would expect to see them place high at the state tournament with a couple of them fighting for a state championship.”

With a dedicated coach like Zachmeier, committed to excellence, driven to teach, to build, and to learn these kids will be ready to rumble on the mat and in life.

This year’s wrestling team consist of: Brady Volk, 8th grade, Cole Schneibel, 7th grade, David Jr. Schneibel, 9th grade, Dustin Herold, 10th grade, Dylan Grove, 9th grade, Jadyn Mack, 7th grade, Joel Berg, 10th grade, Kaden Jaeger, 10th grade, Landon Rost, 9th grade, Riley Zachmeier, 9th grade, Spencer Koehmstedt, 12th grade, Timothy Groves, 7th grade, Wyatt Schmaltz, 9th grade, and Nathaniel Johnson, 8th grade. Coaches: Craig Zachmeier, Brad Jundt, and Jeff Stewart.

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