Wrestling: Packer seniors are ready to put it on the line

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Three senior leaders are hoping to make their final Section 1AAA meet their best one as the Packer wrestlers prepare for competition in Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Friday and Saturday.

Jayden Erie, Jackson Hample and Corey Waller all began wrestling as eighth graders, and they all stepped up as strong leaders on the mat this season.

Erie missed most of last season with an injury and he’s primed and ready to compete this weekend.

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“We’re trying not to be nervous about it,” he said. “We’re just going to go out there and wrestle the same way we have all season and wrestle as hard as we can.”

Austin didn’t qualify any wrestlers for state last season and its hoping to change that this year. Hample said the Packers have some contenders.

“We’re looking to send a few kids to state and we have chance to do that this year,” Hample said.

All three wrestlers said it will be tough to let wrestling go when they finish up their careers — whether it be this weekend or at the state meet. Erie said the sport has left a lasting impact on him.

“It really changes the way you think about things,” Erie said. “With wrestling, it gets ingrained in your mindset and it’s had a big impact on us.”

Waller said the team has cranked up the level of intensity in the wrestling room this season and that has paid off for the Packers.

“We don’t ever want to come out and take it easy. We beat each other up, but we do it for good reasons and that’s to make each other better,” Waller said. “Friday or Saturday might be our last day wrestling, but we have to go in with the mindset that we’re not going to stop.”