By PATRICK SLACK
After capturing the Section 7A championship and advancing to state a year ago, the Pierz wrestling team returns the bulk of its starting lineup as it looks to repeat the feat this winter.
Ten starters return, with five, senior Brad Meyer, juniors Evan Woitalla, Brandon Sullivan and Chris Ortman and freshman Kolton Eischens, winning at least 31 matches last year.
Seniors Nick Lochner and Travis Johnson and junior Ryley Smude won at least 21 matches apiece a year ago, with junior Jordon Goebel and eighth-grader Brett Kapsner also returning as starters.
Vying for starting mat time as well are juniors Curtis Brisk, Mac Gruber and Ed Gerry, sophomores Jon Gerry and Cole Brausen, freshman Ted Dehler and eighth-graders Matt Kummet, Lane Girtz, Logan Lease, Brandon Ortman and Grant Smude.
Kimball Area and Holdingford will be Pierz’ top conference competition, Pierz head coach Simon Waltman said, with Holdingford, Aitkin and Royalton-Upsala standing in the way in the section.
Seniors on this year’s team include Meyer, Lochner and Johnson.
Graduating from last year’s team were Trent Davis, Nathan Tomala, Alex Julich and Dustin Waytashek.
Pierz was slated to open the season at Foley, Friday.