Dreams and expectations are high for the Northwestern Red Raider wrestling team as they anxiously await the beginning of their 2015-16 season.
Led by head coach Rik Dahl, the Red Raiders have set their sights on winning a team GPAC title, along with “fighting the good fight,” as their team theme from 2 Timothy 4:7 suggests.
NW will return five wrestlers who have previously qualified for the national tournament: Zach Fishman, Randall Null, Luis Rivera-Santiago, Tyree Cox and first-year transfer Alex Rust. The Red Raiders will be captained by redshirt seniors Fishman (174 lbs.) and Cox (184), senior BJ Groskreutz (157) and redshirt junior Preston Hoebelheinrich (133), and Randall Null (197).
Other important pieces from last season returning to the experienced Red Raider lineup this winter will be Austin Boles (125), Jake Clifton (141), Elijah Dahl (149), Brandon Shuler (165) and Nick Null (197). NW also adds five talented newcomers to this season’s roster which will vastly increase the team’s depth.
“I believe we have some stellar potential with the competitive depth we have at each weight,” redshirt sophomore Nick Null said. “Just as iron sharpens iron, we strengthen each other.”
The team is hopeful for this coming season and are looking to share many positive moments and memories.
“I feel like we feed off each other’s energy in practice, and it is a competition every day because we are fighting for the starting spots at each weight class,” Boles said.
First-year freshman Dylan Costello loves the high intensity in the NW wrestling room because of the energy in practice.
“No one gives you an inch in our wrestling room which really pushes you to improve,” Costello said.
The Red Raiders will put this intensity to the test when they host their first duel of the year on Dec. 8 against the Briar Cliff Chargers in the Bultman Center. NW will not return to home competitions until after Christmas when they host the Concordia Bulldogs on Jan. 23.