Wrestlers prepare for 20-21 season amid pandemic



Entering his second year as head coach of the Lennox High School wrestling team, Blake Crosby is ready for the season and the challenges ahead.

Crosby, who coached over six years with the LHS program as assistant coach, also coached one year at Fairmont/Martin County West before taking over as head LHS coach. Last season the Orioles were fortunate to get their entire season in before shutdowns took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Orioles qualified six wrestlers for the State Meet last year with two of those wrestlers returning to this year’s team.

Last year Riley Williams, Jacob Marshall, Ryan Smidt, Ben Zarr Brandon Otte and Jase Langbehn all qualified for the State Meet. Williams, Marshall, Smidt, and Zarr all graduated last spring, but Otte and Langbehn will be back with aspirations of a repeat trip back to State.

The LHS wrestling team also said goodbye to Fran Persic, who graduated last Spring as well. But the team boasts a strong roster that includes Seniors: Otte, Dawson Anderson, Alec Sosa; Juniors: Keegan White; Sophomores: Langbehn, Gabe Beman, Sam Harr, Hayden Herlyn, Sergio Murrillo, Ethan Schroder; Freshmen: Ashton Bach, Lincoln Ford; Eighth graders: Jack Aashiem, Nate Haar, Tyler Strasser; and Seventh graders: Preston Otte, Gage Richert, Jacob Richert, Kayden Thibodeau-Lindenmann, and Ramsey Williams.

“I think we will be pretty tough at the top three weight with 195-285. All the guys up there are looking pretty tough. They have been putting in a lot of time and I am excited to see what they can do,” said Crosby. “Brandon Otte will be our leader in the middle. He has really been pushing himself lately and looks to be a stable in the middle of out lineup.”

Crosby will be assisted this season by Rich Meekhoff, Carlos Berreda and Jaetin DeCou.

The coaches and district will have an added challenge this year during the pandemic to keep the season rolling but Crosby is confident they can keep athletes safe and enjoy the season.

“We will have to clean more than ever with making sure the athletes are safe. Also each athlete is being put into pods of 3 to 5 guys so they will just work together,” said Crosby. “There are many more changes happening too, with the dual meets and tournaments. It will be a different year for all of us, but that goes for every team in the state.”

The Orioles are slated to begin their 20-21 wrestling season on Dec. 5 when they compete in the Rider Invite at Sioux Falls Roosevelt. The Orioles will be at Sioux Falls Washington on Dec. 8 and will compete in the Tea Area Duals on Dec. 12.

“I am interested to see how the year goes for us. We have some experience coming back but bring back no state points,” said Crosby. “I am looking to have some athletes to step up and take the lead. We had a great showing at regions last year and I hope to be able to build off that this season.”

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