Waukon wrestling team returns six letterwinners for the 2017-2018 mat campaign as Mason Berns takes over the head coaching helm

2017-2018 Waukon wrestling team ... Left to right - Front row: Managers Grace Pearson and Delaney Nagel, Tyler Block, Miles Hansmeier, Brenan Folsom, Landon Berns, Alex Brink, Tristan Hansmeier, and managers Keara Dahlstrom and Rylea Nagel. Second row: Gabe Byrnes, Dakota Howe, Lance Egan, Jason Troester, Owen Frieden, Marcus Gibbs, Tanner Kiel. Back row: Volunteer Assistant Coach Chris Dahlstrom, Carter Nolting, Walker Hermeier, Carter Benzing, Zach Miller, Luke Pladsen, Nathan Johnson, Head Coach Mason Berns, Assistant Coach Caleb Ferring. Not pictured: Matti Pladsen and Peyton Bieber.

The Waukon wrestling team will be able to fill about half its line-up with varsity experience for its 2017-2018 campaign and will have a new face at the helm of the program to try and piece this season’s line-up together. The Indian mat squad will feature six varsity letterwinners returning this season in its overall make-up of just 20 wrestlers taking to the mat for first-year head coach Mason Berns.

Although new to the varsity head-coaching realm, Coach Berns is certainly no stranger to coaching, to wrestling, or likely to much of anyone living in the area, as he is a Waukon area native who graduated from Waukon High School in 2006 and wrestled his way to a pair of podium appearances for the Indians at the State Tournament, placing seventh in 2004 at 130 pounds and eighth in 2006 at 160 pounds. After graduating high school, Coach Berns obtained a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa and returned to his hometown to begin teaching in the local elementary school system. He brings more than 10 years of his own wrestling experience and another five years of coaching the sport, including as the Indians’ varsity assistant, to his new position atop the Indian wrestling coaching totem pole, and credits all those experiences with his full-circle return to lead the program he once contributed significantly to.

The Indians were slated to get their 2017-2018 season underway at the home of one of those NEIC squads, competing in a quadrangular event Tuesday, November 28 at Oelwein against the host Huskies, Nashua-Plainfield and Postville before hosting another quadrangular Thursday, November 30 with Riceville, Clayton Ridge and South Winneshiek. The mat Tribe will continue its initial busy week at the Wapsie Valley Tournament Saturday, December 2 before returning to Oelwein Thursday, December 7 to compete with both the Huskies and New Hampton, and then competing in the South Winneshiek Tournament Saturday, December 9.

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