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Breaking the Opponent

November 9, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

by Darren Fraser

In wrestling, the term breaking the opponent means to gain the upper hand during a tough match. Alternately, it can be used as a motivational tool by coaches to inspire their players. Entering his second year as Emmetsburg's wrestling head coach, Tyler Bjustrom appreciates both interpretations of the phrase.

A good wrestler must possess balance, agility and upper and lower body strength. But Bjustrom says most matches are won or lost in the mind. "In a match, it's one guy going against another. Mental toughness is huge. Responding from a tough loss is important," he says.

The E-Hawks went 18-2 in dual meets last season, which was an improvement over the year prior. Bjustrom notes Emmetsburg has a storied wrestling history. "We had excellent teams in the 2000s. Won five state titles in a row. But the school had great teams in the 60s, 70s, 80s. The teams always had top state talent."

Bjustrom concedes the team is not as good as people would like, but he is confident the team can equal or exceed last season's performance.

"Last summer we started a wrestling club and this spring we had kids from all over attend wrestling practices. The guys were excited about how they did last year. As a coach, you have to run with that excitement." Bjustrom notes the team had forty practices over the spring. The team also attended a wrestling camp at Iowa State over the summer.

This year's team will benefit from experience. "We are returning eight seniors and six juniors," says Bjustrom. Among those returning are three state qualifiers and six district qualifiers.

What Bjustrom wants to see from this year's squad is less focus on the numbers. "We can't get caught up in results," he says. "We just need to give our best, night in and night out, and keep competing."

Bjustrom sees Graettinger has the E-Hawks toughest team opponent. But every team in the Twin Lakes Conference features great individual players. "You can't overlook anyone," he says.

Bjustrom says to anyone who has never attended a match, come out and see what it is all about. "It's a different environment," he says. "It's kind of hostile, but that's because people are trying to rally the players. They're [the crowd] are trying to influence the match."

Emmetsburg did not have many home matches last year. "But we had great crowds," Bjustrom says. "I was losing my voice during the matches, shouting over the crowd to talk to my guys."

The team begins practice on November 12. The first dual meet is November 29 at Sioux Central.



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