A wrestling lineup with holes is often a wrestling lineup that has no chance to win a dual match.
Every weight class without a wrestler means six free points for the opponent.
Entering his fifth year as Janesville Parker’s head coach, Daniel Jackson believes the Vikings now have the depth to field a complete lineup for a full season.
“I know I’ve been saying the same thing the past couple years as far as having a full roster, but this year we do, we have all 14 weight classes filled, and we have reserves in the waiting,” said Jackson, whose team opens its season against Big Eight Conference power Sun Prairie on the road tonight. “We’ve had some talented kids these last couple years, but it’s very hard to win a dual meet if you can’t field a roster.
“This year, we’re not only filling the roster, but we have talented kids who are working hard.”
It’s been a process for Jackson and the Vikings to get to this point.
He believes the program’s efforts in reaching out to feeder programs at Franklin and Edison have helped build depth and spark interest.
“The last two years we’ve invited the eighth-grade students up to witness a practice late in the season,” Jackson said. “We’ve seen our numbers increase significantly.”
Senior Brett Perkins is the Vikings’ top returner. He won a Big Eight title as a sophomore and was third at regionals last year, wrestling at 120 pounds.
“We’re thinking, as a coaching staff, this might be his year,” Jackson said. “He’s putting in the work and going 110 mph every practice. He leads by example and is positive to the guys. They gather around his leadership.”
Other key returners include senior Palmer Goodwick, who sported a winning record and wrestled at 132 pounds in the postseason last season, and sophomore Tristan Buol, who wrestled 15-20 pounds under weight at 106 pounds as a freshman.
“This is Palmer’s fourth year on varsity, and he’s taken some bumps and bruises along the way, but he’s really stayed resilient, and I think he’s going to put together a pretty solid season,” Jackson said. “Tristan weight about 89 pounds last year but hit the weight room all summer and had a little growth spurt.”
Jackson said he has been preaching to his team that wins and losses will work themselves out but that his wrestlers’ focus needs to be on a tireless work ethic and 100 percent effort.
The Vikings will get a good sense of exactly where they stand by squaring off with Sun Prairie right away and then hosting the Cramer/Brown Invitational on Saturday.
“We’re just trying to get our guys more competition, because they’re working hard and they’re ready,” Jackson said.