Column: Packer wrestlers are growing up

Published 9:10 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

The Austin wrestling team may not have a lot of wins this season, but it’s definitely making some progress.

While some of their younger wrestlers have been put in some tough spots this season, they had a chance to show what they’ve learned against some Mankato East wrestlers who were close to their experience level on Friday.

The newer Packers came through as Christian Buttshaw, a 189-pound junior, picked up a pin, Brandon Cotter, a 125-pound eighth grader, picked up a 14-9 win,and Zach Nelson, a 171-pound sophomore, picked up a 10-5 win.

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It wasn’t so much that these wrestlers won on Friday that was remarkable. It was how they won.

Each one of them came into their match with aggression and they didn’t look back down at any point.

Cotter allowed a reverse to his opponent at the end of the second period to make it 9-9, and he bounced back with near fall early in the third to set up his win.

Buttshaw didn’t hesitate to go for the pin after being taken down himself earlier in the match and Nelson came back in the third after trailing 5-4.

Austin also has three younger wrestlers with solid experience.

Devon Felten, a 103-pound sophomore, and Brennen Russell, a 112-pound sophomore, each picked up a first period pin against East and took second in the St. Paul Invite over the weekend. Erick Power, a 119-pound sophomore, has also had a good impact with the team.

As these wrestlers continue to improve, the Packers should be better in the years to come. They may be having a tough time now, but in a sport that preaches ‘no pain, no gain,’ it shouldn’t be anything they aren’t used to.