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USC short on numbers, ready to go

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Jan 17, 2021

The USC wresting squad is led this year by returning seniors Bryce Sonnek and Micah Hamson. L-R: Front Row: Brayden Mithun, Gavin Bird, Byron Getcheel, Isaiah Gonzalez, Kolt Bullerman. L-R; Back Row: Ethan Elvebak, Bryce Sonnek, Konner Harpestad, Matthew Beyer, Collin VanCleave, Micah Hamson.

United South Central wrestling co-head coach Dan Dylla was hoping to have a few more wrestlers out this year, but that did not happen.

“We have 11 wrestlers out this year, same as last year,” Dylla says. “We lost three seniors to graduation, but we gained three new ones.”

The coach had hoped three others would come out this season, but, due to unknown reasons, he says, they did not.

“This is a different sport than say basketball,” he explains. “You really need to have a passion for wrestling to go out for it.”

The Rebels have a couple of top-notch seniors leading the squad this year.

Bryce Sonnek is a two-time state tournament qualifier and had a record of 30-9 last year. He will be wrestling at 120 and 126 pounds during the season, the coach notes.

Micah Hamson was 28-10 last year, wrestling at 145 pounds.

“Micah got hurt right before the Section team tournament,” coach Dylla says. “It was really some tough luck. He’ll be wrestling between 145 and 160 for us this year.

There are four juniors on this year’s Rebel squad.

Ethan Elvebak was 27-11 last year and ended up fifth in the Section last season. This year he will be wrestling probably at 132 or 138, coach Dylla says.

Konnor Harpestad had a 17-15 record last year and will be at 145 or 152 all season this year.

Matt Beyer and Collin VanCleave are the other two juniors on the team. Both will be wrestling at the 182 and 195 pound weight spots.

“They did not have the best records last year, but that was due to having to wrestle some really tough kids at those weights,” Dylla says. “Matt has been wrestling since seventh grade and both he and Collin will be much improved this year.”

There are no sophomores or freshmen on the team this season, and that is something coach Dylla says they need to fix.

“Seventh grader Byron Getcheel had a 24-12 record last year at 106 pounds and was third in Sections,” Dylla says. “He looks ready to have a really good season.”

Eighth grader Isaiah Gonzalez figures to be in wrestling in the 106 or 113 bracket during the year.

Another couple of seventh graders will be ready to go. Kolt Bullerman will figure in at the 106 and 113 pound mark, and Gavin Bird at 132 pounds. Brayden Mithun and Matthew Beyer round out the squad, although they do not necessarily have a lot of varsity experience.

“They are pretty tough,” the coach says. “They will be an asset to the team, maybe next year. They work hard and have experience in youth wrestling.”

The Rebels were 11-17 last season, which the coach says is pretty good since they only had 11 wrestlers and had to give up some forfeits each match.

“We are lean on numbers but all 11 guys are tough,” Dylla says. “Sure, I wish we had more kids out, like 10 more. But winning 11 duals with just 11 kids is pretty good.”

Coach Dylla has been around for more than just the last two years. He was a former assistant coach and then the head coach for many seasons and was also active in youth wrestling programs.

He was the 126 pound wrestler for Wells-Easton High School back in 1982. His son (and co-head coach) Dustin Dylla was a state runner-up at 140 pounds in 2011.

“Dustin does the actual wrestling at practice,” Dylla says. “Although I still get down on the mat once in a while.”

The coach says the kids were all excited to be back in the wrestling room.

“They had smiles all week, and they worked hard all week,” coach Dylla says. “They were happy to be back with each other.”

Now they are excited to get the season underway. The first match was on Thursday, Jan. 14, versus Westfield. This week they face Medford and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, both home matches.

“We are doing home and away meets with each team,” the Rebels coach says. “That means we will have six or seven home meets, which is nice.”