Returning letter winners for the Vikings are, from left, front row - Hans Holkesvik, Nathan Suhr, Kellan O’Shea, Trent Tweten, Dirk Clark. Back row - Jacob Garza, Peter Kephart, Tyler Hovey, Andy Hovden, Austin Ashbacher, Cody Carolan, Cody Ritner. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)
This year could be the Decorah wrestling team's year.
With three returning state qualifiers, over 40 athletes in the weight room and perhaps a little pressure to continue the streak of state titles going, the Viking grapplers have a recipe for success.
Leading the charge is Head Coach Jeff Freidhof, who in 13 years (12 at Decorah) has produced a 111-102 record. He has coached 28 state qualifiers and 16 state place winners. He will be assisted by Gene Adams, Bruce Sacquitne, Ryan Kittelson and Josh Spilde. Junior high coaches are Steve Nesteby, Todd Hove and Bob Holkesvik.
One of the best
The Vikings put together one of the best seasons in recent history last year. As a team, the Vikings finished 11-9 in dual meets.
They finished fourth in team standings at the Northeast Iowa Conference meet, behind three ranked teams. Senior Landon Ashbacher was the lone gold medalist, winning the 160 pound bracket. Gayge Samuelson (152 pounds), Austin Ashbacher (195) and Andy Hovden (220) all finished second.
The Vikes were strong at the district meet, taking third as a team. Five individuals saw their seasons continue as they advanced to state. Taking first was Samuelson, with Zach Henning (132), L. Ashbaher, A. Ashbacher and Hovden all taking second.
It was a special experience for the Vikings at state. Henning went 3-2, finishing seventh overall. The other Viking wrestlers didn't advance past the first day.
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