Head coach Jim Zeigler said it’s time for his team to apply the lessons learned in the fall toward spring matches.
“The first half what we’re doing is concentrating on wrestling,” Zeigler said. “We’re learning how to wrestle. But in the second semester we start to focus more on winning.”
The Trappers, who returned to workouts and practices on Dec. 30, will wrestle University of Great Falls at Huntley Project High School in Worden, Mont., Wednesday afternoon in what Zeigler called a “warm-up match,” and then this weekend at the National Duals in Des Moines, Iowa.
“There’s not a huge emphasis on beating Great Falls; they’re not in our division,” Zeigler said.
There will be an emphasis on wrestling smart.
Zeigler said he’s looking for “better match management and maturity” this semester. He wants his wrestlers to understand when to score, when to hold back and how to manage the clock. He wants to minimize costly mistakes.
“We’ll take more risks in the first semester,” he said. But the second semester is when wrestling savvy becomes more important.
The Trappers lost Nov. 22 to the Argos 24-13.
Not a lot rides on Wednesday’s dual, but intensity will increase exponentially when the team travels to Iowa Thursday night for this weekend’s National Wrestling Coaches Association’s National Duals.
Northwest is ranked No. 2 in the nation and will be the top-seeded team at the duals.
“We’re expecting to be in the finals,” Zeigler said.
The team will arrive in Des Moines Thursday evening for a full Friday of registration, work outs and meetings.
The competition begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday and finals run from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday.
Zeigler said his lineup for duals is pretty locked, though there is some uncertainty with two weight classes.
Jeff McCormick, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 157 pounds, will not wrestle due to illness and will be replaced by Cormick Eaton.
No. 5 Ben Jorgensen is the man at 133 pounds, but Brenden Turner is a more than capable backup.
“Ben’s our guy right now,” Zeigler said. “Him and Turner are really close.”
The rest of the lineup is 125-Cody Vichi, 141-Zac Loveless, 149-Kaelen Loveless, 165-Diorian Coleman, 174-Cole McArthur, 184-Miles Nixon, 197-Jonathan Wixom, 285-Gabriel Escobedo.