The Eden Prairie High School wrestling team celebrated its senior athletes on January 18, acknowledging their significant contributions and leadership.
Seven seniors, Aden Akale and Israel Ramirez from junior varsity, and Will DiAna, Terae Dunn, Leo Johnson, Patrick Kubisa, and Will Sather from varsity, were lauded for their mentorship, especially to more than 20 first-year wrestlers in the program.
“Our upperclassmen, our seniors, they have a pretty big responsibility,” said Eagles wrestling head coach Marcus LeVesseur. “The way they lead by example, push through challenges, work hard, and encourage the young wrestlers to keep up with our drills has been remarkable.”
The varsity wrestling team excelled at the Sibley East Duals held at Sibley High School in Arlington on Saturday, going 3-1. This accomplishment improved their overall season record to 8-5 in dual meets.
Sather, competing at 285 pounds, beat two notable opponents. He pinned senior Lamarcus Osborne, the third-ranked Class A heavyweight from Minneapolis North, and defeated junior Keegan Kuball, the reigning state champion and current top-ranked Class A heavyweight from Waterville-Elysian-Morristown/Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.
The team is gearing up for upcoming dual meets against Hopkins on Feb. 1 and St. Michael-Albertville High School on Feb. 8. With team sections scheduled for Feb. 16 and individual sections on Feb. 24, they aim to qualify six to eight wrestlers for state competition.
As of Jan. 25, The Guillotine High School Class AAA rankings place several Eden Prairie wrestlers in the top 10 of their classes. Junior Zytavius Williams is sixth at 133 pounds, junior Charles Vanier eighth at 139 pounds, Kubisa fourth at 152 pounds, Dunn fourth at 160 pounds, and Sather leads at 285 pounds.
LeVesseur, in his second year as coach, describes the team’s environment as “dynamic,” balancing inexperienced wrestlers with seasoned competitors.
“From A to Z, high to low, or just side to side, we experience everything in our wrestling room,” he said. “We’re not able to run all the high-paced and advanced drills that we would like to. When the going gets tough in the match, we all lean on the basic fundamentals to score a point. I think our wrestlers are (developing) soundproof technique. Once they really understand the sport more, I think they’ll experience more success.”
LeVesseur emphasized that the team is not solely focused on wins and losses.
“Honestly, everybody wants to win,” he said. “But we focus on the process. Winning and losing are results of the process, and we have to understand what that process is, how to navigate it, and how to learn from it.”
The coach is optimistic about the future, especially with the growth in the youth program.
“I mean, 116 kids signed up for our youth program. That’s just astronomical,” he said. “Two years ago, I’m not sure if there were 10 to 15 wrestlers. And I say that humbly. In the last couple of seasons, we’ve put a big focus on the youth, and our numbers have risen drastically.”
LeVesseur praised the dynamics of the team as they entered the final weeks of the season.
“I just love the group that we have right now,” he said. “They’re fun, they work hard, and you can tell that they want to get better; they want to believe in themselves more each day.”
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