Waukee Wrestling – Season Preview 2020-21

The Waukee Wrestling team has become one of the state’s premier wrestling programs over the past few seasons, earning several national ranking nods in recent years. The Warriors are coming off a sixth-place finish in the State Dual Tournament and a ninth-place finish in the State Traditional Tournament a year ago.

“We had a good core group of kids led by our seniors,” Waukee head coach Chad Vollmecke explained as he returns for his 17th season running the program. “We also had a lot of younger kids who love wrestling and spend a good deal of time wrestling. Take those things and add the outstanding assistant coaches, and you have a great program.”

The Warriors return six state qualifiers from a year ago including state place winners Thurman Christensen, Griffin Gammell, and Connor Kelley. Bringing back the experience will be very critical moving into the season.

“It’s crucial to have kids who have competed on a big stage, overcome adversity, and found success through hard work,” Vollmecke said.

They also bring back two-time state qualifier Jermaine Sammler, and one-time qualifiers Elijah Hofbauer, Carter Smith, and Tanner Spyksma.

The Warriors know they have a good deal of talent, but they know that there is still much work to do in reaching that end goal.

“We understand that we have a tremendous amount of talent on our roster,” said junior Griffin Gammell who placed third in the 182 lb. weight class a season ago. “But we need to improve on focusing toward developing it and moving through the funk that often occurs during the season.”

Coronavirus was a big roadblock for the wrestling team as many were unable to find mat space and most summer competition was unfortunately canceled.

“Getting onto the mat was a real struggle early on,” Gammell added. “But as we’ve been taught, we’ve fought through the adversity.”

Although the team understands that things can change very quickly right now, their focus is on enjoying as much time as they have together in what should be a strong season. 

“We will commit ourselves to getting better every day we can and take it one day at a time,” said Christensen. “We know that things can change quickly so we are taking advantage of our time together.” 

The Warriors believe this season has the chance of being special to everyone involved in the last year as one program.

“We want to compete at a high level in every competition. Control what we can, and put forth great performances,” Vollmecke added. “If we measure success in hardware, we want the smallest number possible on the trophy at the end of the season and a bunch of individuals with yellow medals.”

The Warriors are scheduled to hit the mat on Thursday, December 3rd in a dual against Ankeny Centennial.

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