At the top end, the Faribault wrestling team will be in search of new leaders this season.
With the graduation of Josh Oathoudt and Dylan Lippert, the two individual state qualifiers last year for the Falcons, as well as eight other seniors off last year’s roster, this year’s team might skew younger, but Faribault coach Jesse Armbruster said he believes his squad possesses plenty of talent to follow up on last year’s third-place finish in the Big 9 Conference despite not having any wrestlers crack the preseason rankings published on theguillotine.com.
“I know there’s a lot of question marks right now,” Armbruster said. “We have what I believe to be our third schedule in place, and I’m guessing there will be many changes to that as the season progresses. We have our plans in place and are hopeful to be on the mat soon.”
This year, the Falcons will be led by four captains with Aiden Tobin, Gael Ramirez, Cael Casteel and Tyler Boyd.
Ramirez, a senior, finished last year with a 29-7 record wrestling primarily in the 126-pound weight class and claimed fourth in that division at the Section 1AAA individual competition. Senior Tyler Boyd registered an 18-9 record as a junior competing mainly in the 113-pound weight class, while senior Cael Casteel notched a 13-10 record bouncing back and forth between 138 and 145 on the varsity mat as a junior.
Tobin, a junior, wrestled in only six varsity matches a year ago but won half of his contests at either 138 or 145.
“They’ll be leading a fairly young, but as I said a talented group,” Armbruster said.
Part of the reason for that relative inexperience is due to the fact there were not a lot of open slots in last year’s varsity lineup for younger wrestlers to break into. With the graduation of those 10 seniors, however, those avenues to competing on varsity are suddenly wide open.
Some of those talented youngsters that did wrestle regularly for the varsity team include freshman JT Hausen, who surged to a 30-5 record as an eighth grader at 106 pounds last year and snagged fourth at the individual Section 1AAA meet, and Isaac Yetzer, another freshman that posted a 22-12 record and finished sixth at the Section 1AAA meet in the 120-pound weight class.
Sophomore George Soto also registered an 18-17 record last year and placed sixth at the Section 1AAA meet in the 160-pound weight class, sophomore Gabriel Shatskikh finished 13-17 last year and placed sixth at the Section 1AAA meet in the 220-pound weight class