Osakis senior wrestler Dominic Strom was down 1-0 after two periods in his match at 220 pounds against West Central Area's Devin Stone on Dec. 11, but he had a plan.
Strom provides some flexibility for this Osakis roster with being able to wrestle guys more his size at 195 pounds and also use his quickness to take on 220-pounders. He even wrestled at heavyweight and went 2-1 at the Paynesville Quad on Dec. 18.
"I like wrestling 220 just because a lot of times they're a bit slower," Strom said of his weight-class preference, "but I like 195 too because I don't like wrestling that size as much. I use my speed against the bigger guys."
That speed is where he knew his advantage was against Stone. Strom chose to start down at the beginning of the third period and immediately used a reversal to grab the two points needed for an eventual 2-1 win.
Strom broke his thumb in football during the 2017 season, and that injury lingered into the wrestling season. This year, he is healthy and confident after starting the season with a 195-pound championship at the Early Bird Invite in Sauk Centre.
"I don't have a messed up hand anymore, so I have no excuses not to wrestle good," he said. "I just feel more confident."
"He's wrestled great, and he's kind of wrestled within himself," head coach Joey Andreasen said of Strom. "We're just kind of working on what he's good at, not trying to go outside the box too much. We're trying to hone his skills and get him ready for the section tournament."
Andreasen commented on the importance of all three seniors on the Osakis roster this year. Being in that top class brings an inherent role with it. The best seniors not only perform, but know how to lead off the mat, as well. Strom said he tries to talk with a lot of the younger wrestlers who fill the Silverstreaks' varsity lineup this season.
"I usually try to go through with the ones that are younger and try to tell them what they could have done a little bit better," he said. "Give them confidence and tell them what they did well, too."
Triston Stoetzel and Ben Duchene are Osakis' other two seniors. Stoetzel brings an experienced presence, as well, and earned a tight 4-2 victory over WCA's Hunter Mickelsen last week.
"I'm pretty sure he beat Triston two years ago," Andreasen said of Mickelsen after the match, "so I was excited to get that victory."
Stoetzel continued his winning ways in Paynesville on Tuesday, where he went 3-0 with pins in 22 seconds, 3:28 and 36 seconds.
Duchene won the wrestle-off at 160 pounds this year, but was out due to a sickness last week. He returned on Tuesday when the Silverstreaks went to Paynesville and helped the Silverstreaks fill out their lineup.
Andreasen likes the work ethic of the guys in the program from his seniors down to the younger classes.
"It's awesome," he said. "Every day in practice, they just want to learn. They don't want to leave practice early. They want to keep grinding it out. I'm just excited about where we're at and that we can fill most of the weights."
The head coach wants to see this group continue to progress. A lot of these wrestlers will be around for a few years yet. For seniors like Strom, Stoetzel and Duchene, they are expected to help mold some of that young talent for the future.
"We have such a diverse group of experience and talent that organizing a practice is extremely tough to make it beneficial for all of them," Andreasen said. "Those older guys, they do a really good job of helping out those younger guys. They take time away from them sometimes to help them catch up to speed on what we've been doing all these years. They've been really great, those three seniors."