Warriors expect to contend for section title, state berths
The United North Central wrestling team is counting on returning veterans to produce successful season.
Head coach Jacob Oyster believes solid wrestlers in the first 12 weight classes will make United North Central a solid contender to qualify for the state Class A tournament.
The Warriors might have to forfeit the final two weight classes with the graduation of Brock Kako and Jared Seibert. Kako went 22-17 and finished fifth at 195 pounds at the Section 8A meet while Seibert compiled a 33-10 record and placed third at 285 at the section meet. Gator Bettin, who posted a 20-15 record and placed third at 170 at the section meet, and Isaac Tellers, who went 9-7 and qualified for state as the section runner-up at 120, also graduated.
Those four wrestlers played key roles as the Warriors went 2-3 in Park Region Conference duals and advanced to the Section 8A semifinals as the No. 3 seed with a 63-4 win over No. 6 Fertile-Beltrami in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 2 Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 55-13 in the semifinals to end a 14-8 record in dual meets.
Despite those losses, UNC returns a solid lineup with 11 returning letterwinners. Being counted on to lead the Warriors this season are juniors Dominick Fuller, Dakota Meech and Hunter Skaro; sophomores Ethan Hendrickson, Torrey Carlson, Spencer Erickson, TJ Jasicki, Eion Ness and Dylan Rasmussen; and freshmen Gabe Hendrickson and Hank Tellers.
Ethan Hendrickson returns to wrestle at 106 and 113 after winning the section title and placing sixth at the state meet at 106. Hendrickson enters the season rated No. 1 at 106 in the state Class A poll.
Ness also qualified for state last season, going 33-14 and placing second at 145 at the section meet. Ness enters the season rated No. 8 at 152.
Meech capped off an 18-21 season by placing third at 160 at the section meet. Meech will return at that weight this season.
Jasicki placed third at 113 at the section meet, compiling an 18-14 record. Jasicki will wrestle at 113 and 120.
Rasmussen placed fourth at 126 at the section meet to cap off a 15-20 season. Rasmussen will move up to 132 or 138.
Tellers finished fourth at 132 at the section meet. Tellers, who will wrestle at 132 or 138, had a 13-25 record last season.
Carlson went 13-26 last season, placing sixth at the section meet at 152. Carlson will fill the starting spot at 195 this season.
Those seven helped the Warriors place sixth at the conference meet with Hendrickson winning the title at 103 and Jasicki finishing second at 113. Ness placed fourth at 145, Meech placed fifth at 160, Rasmussen placed sixth at 126, Tellers placed sixth at 132 and Carlson placed sixth at 152.
Skaro went 10-8 last season and will wrestle at 126. Fuller (who had a 10-19 record last season) will wrestle at 145. Gabe Hendrickson will wrestle at 145 after going 2-12 last season.
Junior Vince Dailey, who went 9-11 for Big Lake last season, is expected to fill the spot at 170. Reid Pinoniemi and Aaron Lake will challenge for the start at 106 while Logan Torma will compete for the starting spot at 182.
“We are going to be short on experience or even bodies at the last two weights, but the first 12 weights will be so balanced and tough that I think we will be just fine. We will be spotting teams 6 to 12 points, so we need to make those up with earning bonus points in our victories and not give them up,” said Oyster. “I really believe we can compete with anyone in our section and, if we keep growing and improving, I don't know why we can’t be the team to come out of Section 8A. Obviously there are a lot of unknowns right now with lineups of other schools, but I know what ours will look like for the most part and I like what I see. If we can keep healthy, I think we can win the section. I also look to send a good group of individuals to state as well. Again it's hard to predict numbers without knowing where other individuals are at, but I feel really good about our first 12 weights and believe they all are right there and have good shots at being a top 2 guy in most weight classes. I see us having a great season.”