The Pelican Rapids wrestling team have a plethora of wrestlers with varsity experience returning in 2021. Head coach Harold Holt is excited for the season and will push his team to be one of the top in Section 6A.

Leading the Vikings on the mat this year will be captains seniors John Ziebell (170 pounds), Jacob Willis (220 pounds) and junior Sebastian Centeno (138 pounds). Also returning for the 2021 season will be seniors Noah Kapenga (182 pounds), Tommy Thach (126 pounds), Mark LaPoint (132 pounds), sophomores Carter Johnson (132 pounds), Oakley Carson (120 pounds), Jed Carlson (106 pounds) and Reece Henkes (113 pounds).

Pelican Rapids will also return a few other wrestlers with varsity experience including sophomores Daniel Diaz, Troy Bell, freshmen Parker Sanchez, Abraham Gonzalez, Cater Freking, Phillip Dykhoff, eighth-graders Jack Kapenga and Mark Kapenga.

The Vikings know that their success will be reliant on the health of their athletes.

“Staying health and injury-free will be key. We do not have a lot of depth and if the wrong wrestler is out of the lineup it could hurt the team’s performance,” Holt said.

There will be several changes in 2021 with COVID-19 restrictions, but Holt and the Vikings are just excited for the season. 

“The wrestling family; fans, parents, coaches and wrestlers, will all have to have a different mindset this year. The season could end at any time because of COVID.  There may be matches canceled, the season’s shortened or the postseason might end before state, like the football postseason.  With only 32 matches this year, last year there could be 45 going into the postseason, each match will have an added importance for section seeding,” Holt added.

Holt sees Frazee and Perham as the top teams in the Heart O’Lakes Conference, while Otter Tail Central, West Central Area and Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale-Parkers Prairie will be favored in the section.

Holt will be assisted by Dylan Evenson, Aaron Kapenga and Carlos Gutierrez this season.

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