After a month of practice and training, the Buena Vista wrestling team is set to take the mat for the first time this season when it takes part in the North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) Open on Saturday.
This year’s team will have a steady diet of young wrestlers to mix in with a handful of experience. Led by senior Brian Broll (Chaska, Minn./Waconia), a three-time national qualifier, head coach Sevond Cole is excited about the way the preseason has gone and is ready to see what his team can do when it kicks-off its schedule.
“We have a lot of new freshman, and we’re going to be counting on a few of them to step in early on and see what they can do,” he says. “I’m really excited about the group of guys as they have been really wrestling hard and getting after it in practice.”
Broll has been the constant for the Beavers over the last three years, having posted 87 wins entering this year. Last season as a junior, he earned his first trip into the finals of the Iowa Conference Tournament and went on to fall one win short of earning All-American accolades. For him, he’s just eager to get things going and to finish his career on a high note.
"I'm most excited to get out there and enjoy my last season of wrestling," he says. "I've been working most on adjusting to some of the differences between wrestling at 197 and 184, while also pushing the pace to outwork my opponents."
“He’s without a doubt a national champion contender,” says Cole. “After wrestling mainly 197 for his first two years, he cut down to 184 as a junior and really found a spot he’s comfortable with. He wants to get after guys and he we’re looking for him to go along way this year.”
Also back is junior heavyweight Matt Sefcik (Alta, Iowa/Alta), who’s coming off an impressive sophomore campaign which saw him go 20-10 with 12 pins. Cole feels he also has a chance to go deep into the postseason.
“We’ll be excited to get him out on the mat in a couple of weeks once football is over,” says Cole. “He’s a big, strong guy who really stepped up for us last year and has a great chance to place in the top-three at Regionals this season. He keeps himself in good shape and doesn’t seem to miss a beat with the transition of sports.”
The team will also have a group of sophomores back that gained a great deal of experience in the varsity line-up during their inaugural season with the team last season. Steve Gutschenritter (141) (Pacific Junction, Iowa/Glenwood), Dustin Shinkle (149) (Van Horne, Iowa/Benton Community) and Seth Shatto (165) (Estherville, Iowa/ELC) all return after combining for 30 wins in 2011-12.
“I think we’re going to have a good line-up,” adds Cole. “We’ll have to lean on a few freshman in some spots, and we’ll have some room to grow, but I’m excited. We’re getting in good shape and we’re striving to outscore our opponents this season in the third period.”
"I've been really pleased with the attitude and the atmosphere on the team," adds Broll. "Everyone is here to try and get better, and with an attitude like that, success is inevitable."
In addition to the team having several new faces on its roster, it’s also added a new face to its coaching staff. Zach Mizer has joined the team as its top assistant coach after having served as a graduate assistant at Heidelberg College for the last two years. Prior to that, he was a four-year letterwinner and three-time national qualifier for The Berg, including a national runner-up finish at 157 pounds as a senior.
Following the season-opener this Saturday, BVU will take part in the Luther College Open and the Brute-Adidas Open the next two weekends before opening its Iowa Conference schedule on Tuesday, November 27 at home against Coe College. It will also host the annual BVU Open on December 8 as well as a second IIAC dual on January 16 against Loras College.
The postseason schedule is slightly different beginning this year with a Regional Tournament taking place of the conference tournament. It will consist of all eight IIAC teams, as well as Cornell College, Knox College and Augustana College (Ill.). Only the top-three placewinners from each weight class will then qualify to the national tournament. Wild card selections will no longer take place.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.