The Falcons Reach Their Goal
photo by Paul MillerTeam members and coaches lift their 6th place trophy in the air at the state tournament. It was the first time in West Sioux’s history that a wrestling team made it to the dual tournament
The West Sioux Falcon wrestling team had a remarkable 2017-2018 season. They were faced with many challenges, but they didn’t let them stop them from reaching their goal. There are 14 different weight classes in high school wrestling, and the Falcons managed to fill every single one. The Falcon’s wrestling team was made up of 27 different individuals. Each of them having a different role to help out their team. Leading those wrestlers were the two seniors, Wyatt Johnson and Darlin Marquez. Mark Van Oort is the head coach of West Sioux’s wrestling team. He is assisted by Mark Rens, Tom Salker, and Chet Utesch. However, those are not the only coaches who helped the Falcons this year. Marshall Koethe, Josh Martinsen, Austin Koopmans, and a variety of youth coaches helped the team in many ways this year. The Falcons ended the regular season with 15 dual team wins and two dual losses. Both of those losses came from Central Lyon. The wrestling team won their sectional which gave them a chance to wrestle for a spot in the State Dual Tournament. The wrestling team defeated GTRA and Emmetsburg for their first state birth as a team. “My favorite memory from the this season was beating Emmetsburg at the regional dual. It felt good to be the underdog in both duals and ending up on top,” said 145 pounder, Kory Van Oort. The Falcons were seeded eighth going into the state tournament. They ended up going 1-2 down in Des Moines. They finished 6th overall as a team. When asked what changed for the program from past years, coach Mark Van Oort responded, “This year’s team had the most chemistry as far as wrestling for the team and less about the individual.” The road for this successful season wasn’t easy. The team battled many different obstacles. “We battled a lot of injuries and illness this season, and if it wasn’t for the next man in line approach this season would’ve been a lot tougher,” said Coach Van Oort. There were lots of firsts this year from the wrestling program. It was the first time qualifying for the state dual tournament. It was the first time that the program had four place winners, and it was the first time they’ve ever had five state qualifiers. Adam Allard, Dillon Lynott, Kory Van Oort, Neddy Montes, and Darlin Marquez qualified to wrestle at the state tournament. Marquez earned himself a 6th place finish. Lynott got 7th. Van Oort earned 5th place on the podium. Allard won his second straight 1st place finish as the state champion. They may take a break now, but they’ll continue to work during the off-season. Van Oort was very proud of this year’s season. He said, “In 17 years of coaching wrestling, this year was the most fun I’ve had. It was remarkable to see the team wrestle for a goal. Last year, we talked about being the team that could make it to the state dual tournament and place. To see the team working towards that all season was very impressive. Wrestling is known to be an individual sport, but these guys made it a team sport. Our fans were amazing this year. This was a great year, and one for the record books.” There were times when guys simply had to step up and get the win because the team would have lost the dual if they hadn’t. They weren’t out there wrestling to get themselves a win but to make sure the team was successful. The Falcon wrestling team had a phenomenal year as individuals and as a team. The future is very bright for this program. Since the team only loses two seniors, there should be a lot of experienced kids returning to the line-up next season. They also have a talented group of eighth graders who will be moving up to the high school team to help fill in some spots. The program should see a lot of positive things happening in the upcoming years but for now, these guys are happy to enjoy their recent success.