Panthers look to build on record-setting season
It was a record-setting year for the Panorama wrestling team last season and with a strong senior class and good numbers, the Panthers expect to build on that success this winter.
For the first time in school history, Panorama qualified five wrestlers for the state wrestling tournament and watched a school-record three of them reach the medal stand inside Wells Fargo Arena. The Panthers posted an 18-6 dual meet record. They won the sectional tournament championship for just the second time in school history and were second at the 14-team district contest, where they had a school-record eight district qualifiers.
The Panthers fell just short at the Regional Duals as they tried to become the first Panorama squad to qualify for State Team Duals.
Both seniors Tyler Van Houten and George Appleseth reached 100 career wins last December.
Panorama returns three of five state qualifiers from last year to the mat this season, including two-time state qualifier Daniel Jensen, Dalton Holmes and Gunnar Grunsted.
Grunsted (45-12) earned the highest place finish for the Panthers at state by placing fifth at 170 pounds in 2017.
Jensen lost twice by fall — in the first round to sixth-ranked Cameron Beminio (34-3, Jr.) of Belmond-Klemme and in the second round to Cody Crawford (36-9, Jr.) of WACO — to have his season ended with a 27-20 mark.
Holmes (44-11) lost by fall to fifth-rated Kaleb Reeves (44-5, Jr.) of Sigourney-Keota in the first round, then suffered a loss by fall to No. 9 Manning Kuboushek (37-5, Jr.) in the consolation bracket.
Other returning letterwinners this year are seniors Trevor Carey, Kaleb Stogdill, and Brady Howard, junior Noah Kirtley, and sophomore Emry Colby, a district qualifier last year.
Kirtley said Wyatt Appleseth will make a splash as a freshman, and Logan Christe will be good at 106 for the Panthers.
Also expected to be in the mix is Bo Dencklau, who moved into the district from Johnston.
Kirtley said strengths of his team include it’s strong senior class and the team’s ability to cover all weight classes. A lack of depth in higher weights is an early concern, he said.
The Panther coach expects Woodward-Granger and Van Meter, like the Panthers, to be pretty tough this year with full teams.
“We are looking to qualify for state duals for the first time in school history,” Kirtley said.
Kirtley is assisted by Mark Van Houten and Kyler Kudart who are both in their fifth year as assistant wrestling coaches at Panorama. Justin Firebaugh is in his second year as the junior high coach and helps with the high school program also.
The Panthers open the season on Tuesday, November 28 at Glidden, 5:30 p.m.