After having four individual athletes medal in last year’s wrestling state championship meet, White Pine High School’s team is back on the mats. For coach Mike Gamberg, this season is about picking up where last year’s squad left off.
“We are trying to knock off the cob webs so to speak. We are working on getting back into wrestling shape and get these kids to remember the moves,” Gamberg said.
Of the 13 wrestlers on this year’s team, seven return from last year, including the coach’s son Christopher Gamberg, who finished second in his division. Now entering his last season, the senior said that he is excited to be back in his element and to help the newer members of the team.
“I’ve been waiting for this for the whole year,” Gamberg said. “The hardest part is getting back into shape after you’ve been gone a while. But the team is getting along really well so far. My goal this year is not only to make it back to state but to also help out the younger guys.”
Drue Ashby, another senior who placed second in last year’s championship meet, said that this is his last chance to overcome the runner-up title that has haunted him the past couple of seasons.
“It’s my senior year so I’m determined to make it a good one,” Ashby said. “My main goal is to take the state title. I’ve taken second two years in a row now so this is my year to win it all.”
Coach Gamberg said that having so many returners will help in the experience department in bigger meets as well as helping the less experienced new members learn. However, balancing the different skill levels during practice can prove to be a bit tricky, since the coach doesn’t want to make things too easy for his veterans, or too complicated for his new athletes.
“We split them into two groups during practice so we can try to get the most out of each camp,” Gamberg said of his wrestlers. “We let the seniors and the more experienced guys start with the advanced stuff while we try to bring the newer ones up to speed. Will they reach where the seniors are by the end of the year? No, but they will at least be able to be competitive and help us win as a team.”
It’s not just seniors though who are looking to pass on their experience. Sophomore Monty Moore qualified for the state championship meet last year and is already working with the six new members of the team to help bring them along.
“We have pretty high expectations this year as a team. We have a lot of new guys, but it will be fun to work with them and get to know them over the season.They are picking things up fast and they are the team’s future so its important that we work with them because we want to win the division this year and take the state title.”