Park High’s very young team generally took their share of lumps last wrestling season.
The Wolfpack entered several meets with one hand tied behind their backs as they were forced to forfeit several matches in the middle and upper weights.
Park will field a more complete team this season, but the Wolfpack are still young with just two seniors projected to be in the starting lineup, co-captains Zach Silvis at either 120 or 126 pounds and Dom Atkins at 160/170.
Silvis is obviously the headliner for the Wolfpack. Ranked second at 120 pounds in The Guillotine’s preseason Class AAA rankings, he trails only Logan Swensen of Wayzata, state runner-up at 106 pounds.
Silvis ranks ninth on the all-time Park wrestling wins list with a 113-15 record and is sure to climb the charts this winter. Park’s all-time win record of 172 set by Colin LaBrosse is probably out of reach, but the No.2 mark of 152 wins set by Garrett Whitehead is within shouting distance.
A three-time state qualifier, Silvis was 32-3 and finished third at state at 120 pounds as a junior. He was sixth at 106 pounds as a sophomore in 2020. He also won a Greco- Roman Championship gold medal in 2019 in the 15 and under division. Silvis signed a letter of intent to wrestle at North Dakota State University next season.
Park had big holes in the middle of the varsity lineup last season, at times having to forfeit at 152, 160, 170 and 220 pounds. Those weights will probably be filled this winter, but the Wolfpack will still have their lineup challenges.
“We’re looking to fill most weight classes,” said wrestling coach Jim LaBrosse. “We’re still a little light in the upper weights but we’ve got some bodies and we’ll see what we can do.”
Missing from the lineup are wrestlers such as JJ Bachtle, Dylan Wiebusch and Jean Marin Melendez, each of whom saw extensive varsity action last season.
But several strong wrestlers return in addition to Silvis. Back in the fold are ninth grader Gunner Mullen at 106 pounds, junior Alex Carr at 182 and junior Doug Sabin at 285.
Mullen is one to watch. He narrowly missed a trip to state last season, finishing third at 106 pounds in the section meet.
The competition will be rugged, as usual. Two Suburban East Conference teams are in the preseason top 12, Stillwater at No. 4 and Forest Lake at No.12.
“If these guys sick together and work hard I think it will be another fun year,” said LaBrosse. “We’re excited. There weren’t any tournaments except for section and state and it was really difficult for a lot of these kids to not get those matches, those placing matches, those fifth-sixth, third-fourth place matches to build on. We’re really excited this year to get back to some normalcy back on the mat.”
Park opens the season Saturday, Dec. 4 in the Lakeville North Invitational. The Wolfpack have an unusual schedule this winter with three back-to-back home meets in December, then just one additional home meet on Jan. 20.