Senior co-captain Andrew Fogarty, worked with coach Jerold Stauffacher during practice at Jordan High School Monday afternoon. ] JEFF WHEELER ‚Ä¢ firstname.lastname@example.org The Scott West wrestling team practiced in the Scott West
Nothing comes easily in wrestling. That point was made abundantly clear as Scott West senior Andrew Fogarty arrived at the gym for a 6 a.m. practice the day before Thanksgiving.
Teenagers and early schedules don’t often mesh, but Fogarty, the defending Class 2A state champion at 160 pounds, said there’s little time to waste.
“It can be tough to get going on a morning like this,” he said, “but we know what we want to accomplish, and we know the work it takes.”
Scott West, a co-op program with Belle Plaine, Jordan and Holy Family high schools, has developed into one of the state’s premier wrestling programs. The team has finished runner-up at state three times in the past five years.
It has never won a title, though, and Fogarty and his teammates hope to be the ones to change that.
“That’s the goal,” Fogarty said. “It would mean everything to us, to be the first ones.”
Coach Jerold Stauffacher doesn’t blink at the lofty expectations of his team. He expects the same, he said, noting that Scott West is deep with a “good mix” of upperclassmen and up-and-comers.
Beyond Fogarty, the team boasts senior David Flynn, the state’s top-ranked wrestler at 132 pounds, and junior Ben Kelvington, who qualified for state a year ago and is No. 5 in the state at 126 pounds. Freshman Jackson Stauffacher, who is wrestling at 113 pounds, was another state qualifier last year.
“There’s a lot there, beyond just the top kids,” the coach said. “We have so many good young kids coming in at 106 [pounds] that a kid who’s ranked in that weight class lost a wrestle-off to even compete in our first meet.”
Unlike many smaller-town programs, Scott West expects to adequately fill all of its heavier weight classes.
“Everyone stays with our same diet and workout regimens, whether they’re 113-pounders, 145-pounders, or our heavyweights,” Stauffacher said.
The talent is what gives Stauffacher the gut feeling that this year’s squad could be special. The demand of the sport is what gives him optimism for his athletes’ futures beyond high school.
“Winning and losing is great, but we’re hoping that when they walk off the mat, done with wrestling for the last time, that they can say they learned something,” he said. “Discipline, what it means to be on a team — that kind of stuff is far more important.”
Before discussing team results, Stauffacher pointed out that his program is among the tops in the state in terms of academics with a team GPA above 3.5.
Fogarty said he and his teammates take pride in the hard work they put in as wrestlers.
He feels he has a target on his back as a defending state champion. He said the team has a chip on its shoulder to prove it’s capable of winning a title together.
Scott West won its season-opening meet, the 10-team Dick Shiels Invite, on Saturday. The team had seven individuals win their respective weight classes.
For now, they’re looking at the season “one step at a time,” Fogarty said. They have clear goals: a conference title, then a section title, and then a state title.
It won’t be easy, he said, but that’s why he and his teammates have little trouble “getting up” for those predawn practices.
“It would make it all worth it,” he said.