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2019-2020 E-Hawk Wrestling Begins

December 9, 2019
By Joseph Schany , Emmetsburg News

By Joseph Schany

The Emmetsburg E-Hawk wrestling program has a proud tradition of success. Many across Iowa may not be able to point out Emmetsburg on a map, but they can definitely identify the power of E-Hawk wrestling.

Last year, Head Coach Tyler Bjustrom, now in his third year at the helm of E-Hawk wrestling, received the honor of being named Class 1A Coach of the Year. However, Coach Bjustrom is quick to give credit to his hard-working team.

Article Photos

2019-2020 E-HAWK WRESTLING - Pictured above, front row from left: Maggie Nelson, Manager; Nic Lowe; Luke Carter; Sean Brennan; Joe Chapman; Cade Shirk; Ryan Brennan; Ryerson Boevers; and Baylee Lundgren, Manager. Middle row from left: Laney Montag, Manager; Jessica Walker, Manager; Lane Auten; Mitchell Lowman; Colton Andersen; Jon Lace II; Kelly Griffin; Tyler Stokes; Ben Saxton; and Claire Kassel, Manager. Back row from left: Dan Hewitt, Coach; Kory Kuecker, Coach; Cade Brown; Jordan Anderson; Bret Hoyman; Matt Wirtz; Brad Wirtz; Esben Enriquez; Kyle Kogel; Mason Griffin; Tyler Bjustrom, Head Coach; and Mark Klaus, Coach. Not pictured: Tattum Fries. The wrestling season officially gets underway at 6:00 p.m. tonight, Dec. 5, in a Double Dual at Storm Lake High School. -- Joseph Schany photo

"Coaching accolades are a reflection of your kids," said Bjustrom. "I have dedicated kids."

Accolades and awards are always nice, but for Coach Bjustrom, putting in the work is what drives the E-Hawks and brings success.

"It was a great honor, but we try not to let that extra stuff affect us," said Bjustrom. "We are going to prepare and continue to improve and that is all we can control."

A year ago, the E-Hawks won the Class 1A Regional Dual, bringing home the sixth place trophy in the State Dual competition, while five wrestlers made the journey to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines: Spencer Griffin, Mason Griffin, Sean Brennan, Ethan Berven, and Calvin Hart.

Returning just two of the five state qualifiers for the 2019-2020 season, Coach Bjustrom and the Emmetsburg E-Hawks will look to Mason Griffin and Brennan for leadership.

Griffin, now a senior, placed fifth at 160 pounds after advancement into the Class 1A state semifinals and finished his season 41-10. Brennan, a junior, finished 35-12 at 113 pounds.

"We also have a nice number of letterwinners returning," said Bjustrom. "The great thing is they are a little spread out, which will help us fill in weights. Seven of our guys returning won at least 30 matches last year."

Along with Griffin and Brennan, other 30-plus returning match winners include senior Bret Hoyman (39-8), senior Jon Lace II (31-10), junior Colton Anderson (33-18), and sophomore Nic Lowe, who had a stellar freshman performance with a 32-18 record.

Coach Bjustrom is also excited about the newcomers entering his program this season.

"We are welcoming some great freshmen to our team this year," said Bjustrom.

Changes to the program will go beyond just new faces this season, as the Emmetsburg E-Hawk wrestling program will shift into Class 2A competition.

"We were the bubble team, riding the Class 1A and Class 2A line, so we had the option to make the switch this year. We are likely going to be 2A next year regardless so it made sense to move up.

Coach Bjustrom believes the change will help his team strive for success and compete at a higher level, avoiding the pitfalls of complacency that other programs fall in when they are at the top of their game, just as long as his wrestlers stays healthy.

"Our team isn't as deep as I would like, which means we need to be sure our bodies are prepared to compete everyday," said Bjustrom.

In order to remain prepared, Coach Bjustrom and his E-Hawks plan to work incredibly hard on the mat throughout the season, both in practice and during competition.

"My goal is to constantly improve and adapt practice so I can efficiently use our practice time," said Bjustrom. "I want to create an environment that encourages growth and competition. I want our kids to continue to compete in practice and if we do all that, we have a chance to be successful!"

Added Bjustrom," We are not entitled to anything so our kids need to take advantage of all the opportunities they have to grow."

Coach Bjustrom is looking beyond victories on the mat to help define the Emmetsburg E-Hawk wrestling program in the 2019-2020 season, but maintains a simple yet challenging goal.

"This is a hardworking team and also a very enjoyable team," said Bjustrom. "Wins and losses are sometimes out of our control so we try not to gauge success on getting our hand raised. That being said, however, we have been and will continue to prepare everyday like a trip to Des Moines is at stake."

The E-Hawks hit the mat at 6:00 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Dec. 5, in a Double Dual at Storm Lake High School, with Pocahontas Area, Sioux Central, and West Bend-Mallard vs. Storm Lake.



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