2013-14 Winter Preview: Park wrestlers eyeing top spots in SEC, section
While the Park wrestling team boasts a formidable lineup from top to bottom, a lot of eyes will be on senior Cody Linssen this season.
Off of an all-state season as a sophomore, Linssen was 23-1 and ranked second in the state in his weight class last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in January.
“Obviously, Cody is anxious to step back on the mat,” said Jim LaBrosse, who is entering his 10th year as Park head coach. “He has something to prove and is ready to get back on top. He brings state and national tournament experience and will take on a big role in continuing to develop this team along with his fellow captains”
In addition to Linssen, Park returns nearly everyone from a team that went 7-15 overall and 4-5 in the Suburban East Conference.
The team will be led by senior captains Linssen, Austin Thurmes, David Giadyu and junior captain Cory Flaata.
“The outlook for the Park wrestling season is a good one,” LaBrosse said. “We return virtually everybody. That means we have many very experienced wrestlers on the mat.”
Giadyu, who went 31-10 as a junior, and sophomore Collin LaBrosse, who was 34-9 as a freshman, were both state entrants for the Wolfpack last year. Flaata compiled a 30-11 record as a sophomore last year and took third place in the section —just one spot away from the state tournament.
Other notables returning and ready to make an impact are: juniors Daniel Duval, Brandon Young, Jake Lanik, Steven Thongdysirisach, Nick Craten and Joe Vandoornevelt; and sophomores Zack Wills, Devon Hubbard, Baily Thurmes, Parise Hardy, Trayden Schufelt, Tyler Jager, Sam Figlmiller and Kyle Lehman, along with freshman Justin Sabin and eighth-grader Garrett Whitehead.
In the conference, perennial powers Hastings and Forest Lake should be tough once again, along with state entrants Woodbury and White Bear Lake.
Park is still stuck in probably the best section in the state.
Defending state champion Apple Valley is the team to beat in Section 3AAA, however Henry Sibley, Eastview, Eagan and Rosemount should be good as well.
“This team has a lot of potential but it is way too early to make any predictions,” Jim LaBrosse said. “It is a long season and our main focus is to get a little better each day. We had many individuals do the extra work it takes to improve in the off season by going to camps and continuing to wrestle in the off season. I have a strong feeling the kids that were average a year ago will make huge improvements this season along with the four returning 30 match winners.”
Park’s first home dual of the season is a conference triangular meet against Roseville and Cretin on Dec. 5. Park’s first tournament is Dec. 7 in the Lakeville Invitational. Park finished fourth last year in the 16-team event.