NICK THOMPSON, TRUMPET SPORTS EDITOR
The Wartburg wrestling team started the 2021-2022 season strong with a 41–3 win over Simpson College Nov. 10. The team followed up the strong performance against Simpson with three wrestlers winning the Luther Open and 22 total wrestlers making the podium.
Excitement is building. The team is ranked first in the nation with eight wrestlers ranked in the top 10 and all 10 weight classes in the top 15. The team will be looking to capture their 15th national championship and first since 2018.
With the last two seasons cut short by COVID, this is the last chance for a championship for sixth-year Kyle Briggs, who is ranked second in the 174 lb. weight class.
“I had decided that because I am in the prime of my career, it would be a waste not to go for another title,” Briggs said.
With so many wrestlers ranked in the top 10, pressure would be something that could impact other colleges, but not for Briggs.
“Individually, I don’t feel any pressure because at this point, I have nothing to lose. The NCAA has already cancelled two of our championships, making it unreasonable to put any faith in them,” Briggs said.
“As far as pressure, no, I don’t feel pressure, because I believe in myself and my training. I’ve learned to treat ‘pressure’ as something positive. If I feel pressure, that means I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Kris Rumph, second-ranked 141 lb. wrestler, said. “This year, I’ve taken my training up another notch, so that being said, pressure doesn’t exist to me. And I say that with all humbleness.”
With any type of greatness though, preparation is something that is needed. The experienced coaching staff and wrestlers know what needs to be done, both on a personal and team level.
“We are looking forward to bringing home a national championship. Personally, my goal is to continually get better each and every day. By doing this, the goal is to bring home a national championship at 149 pounds. Overall, we have a very gritty team with a ton of leaders to help each of us reach our fullest potential,” Brady Fritz, second-ranked wrestler at 148 lbs., said.
“Our team prepares the same way every year. Be disciplined in all aspets of our life, such as school, practice and taking recovery seriously. Our coaches expect us to wrestle hard for 7 minutes. Win or lose, they expect us to fight. Of course they want us towin, but them knowing we gave effort and fought hard is all that matters to them,” Rumph said.
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