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State champion leads wrestling team to postseason

Photography by Sydney Irlbeck

Photography by Sydney Irlbeck

Rodney Edwards, Staff Writer

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While sports such as football or baseball take hours to complete the game, varsity wrestling captain, DJ Coleman, is glad he can end a match in 20 seconds.

That’s how long it took it took Coleman to grab, control, and throw his Bellevue East opponent to the ground at their dual on Dec. 15th. Luckily for the varsity wrestling team, the undefeated senior wrestler has done this several times before.

“He’s come a long way in two years. DJ has gone from just scoring a few points a match to outright pinning his opponents,” Loveless said.

With Coleman not only being the reigning 160 lb. State Champion and ranked number one, Coach Scott Loveless remains hopeful for the postseason at State.

“We’ve got a tough district this year. With Millard South, Lincoln East, and Bellevue East, our guys on the bubble will have to work hard for those four seats,” Loveless said.

While Coleman is ranked at the top in his respective weight class, other MN wrestlers compete in their weight class to beat their ranked opponents.

“One of the most memorable things about DJ is that he always pulls us aside before our matches and says ‘don’t be soft!’” junior Brandon Eastlack said.

While it may be blunt, the message resonates with his teammates. Last year at the State Championships, similar advice helped to propel Eastlack to State Quarterfinals, and Coleman to winning the championship. The same determination has led both of them to win the metro conference earlier this year.

“All we can do is practice and work as hard as we can,” Coleman said.

Sporting 13 state champions since 1982, Coleman and Loveless hope to continue this tradition of success.

While a wrestling match may be one on one, Coleman and the wrestlers show how important leadership and teamwork are to have success as a team. As the postseason grows closer, his matches prove that he can do a lot in a short amount of time.

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