By Erika Moreno / Delta Staff Writer

The men’s wrestling team is starting off their season and they are more than excited for this upcoming season. 

There are various new men on the team so therefore there are a lot of things that they need to work on since most of them are freshman. They mostly need to teach them the system that they run at the collegiate level.

Every year they work on defense and offense. However, the freshman need to adjust to the seven minutes in college versus the six minutes in high school.

Coach Mike Machholz said his best advice is to not let the nerves overcome their capabilities because then they are most likely not to get a win. The ones that thrive are the ones that don’t get worried about it from the beginning. 

Machholz is impressed with the new athletes that are either freshman or have transferred here from other NAIA institutions or junior colleges.

“There’s some really good young talent,” he said.

Overall he believes that the talent around the team is good. However they are young so they are going to have to grow into the collegiate level soon. He thinks that a lot of them are going to have a lot of success. 

Machholz said he doubts that the Missouri Valley Men’s Wrestling Team will be ranked high at the start of the season since they have a lot of men who people have not seen wrestle because they are freshmen. 

They don’t have any returning All-Americans of their own. However, they do have one who transferred here from another NAIA institution, Richard Pocock.

Three individuals that stick out the most to Machholz are Seth Johnson, Casper Sherow, and Zachary Durbin. 

They have been with MoVal for a while now. All three of them are captains who lead in their own way but together they are a really good force. He says that Durbin and Sherow are both capable of being in the national finals. Johnson was kind of the odd man out last year because of injuries or other things that he had going on, but Machholz plans on helping him by moving him up a weight class and hopefully Johnson can settle in. 

Johnson is a senior this year and he has been wrestling since 8th grade. Last year concussions were the main factor that were holding him back from his true potential. He is going up a weight class to 157 verses being at 149 last year.

“I’m working on moving my feet more,” he said.

Johnson is currently also working on moving his opponent more. He gets really nervous. However he plays trivia crack and that helps him calm down from all the excitement.

Machholz said that at some points you have to be a little nuts to be a wrestler because you have to like that physical confrontation. He believes it’s a difficult sport.

“There’s a lot of wrestlers that can play other sports but there’s not a lot of other sports that can come into wrestling and be successful and some of that is the sheer physicality and the mental demand,” he said.

Dayton Brown transferred from University of Central Missouri and has played a big role ever since he arrived here last year.

“They took me in put me in one of the leading spots and just built me up to where I am now and I wouldn’t be here without them,” Brown said. 

Freshman Isaiah Simmons, who has liked getting the collegiate feel of practices, said he finds it challenging that practices are so different compared to high school practices.

Simmons said that he finds it interesting to learn something new. His routine before a match in order to calm him down is putting on his headphones and singing out loud. Simmons really appreciates that his coaches care about both on and off the mat.

Simmons said he is very grateful that they are willing to come in with you before and after practice in order to work on things that the athletes may have questions on.

“I really appreciate them going through the time to continually help us,” Simmons said. 

Pita Fanolua started wrestling in his junior year of high school. After spending time on the team, his go-to move is now the near side cradle.

“I learned a lot, I learned some new techniques and new training skills,” Fanolua said.