The Minnesota State High School League, with guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health, has recently weighed in on opening winter sports for area high schools. MSHSL allowed practice to begin on Jan. 4 for most sports with the season beginning as early as Jan. 14.
Aitkin Gobbler wrestlers began practice last Tuesday when students returned to in-person classes. They are scheduled to be on the home mat Jan. 15 with Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale and Greenbush for the first matches of the season. Wrestling is slated to start at 5 p.m.
As of this time, MDH and MSHL have not shared what the guidelines or restrictions will be for spectators to attend matches.
As soon as information is received, the Aitkin High School Activities Department will pass it along to participants, coaches and the community for attendance procedures.
All matches will be live-streamed through YouTube by going to isd1.org/
athletics to the activities live-stream site.
With only a few days of practice under their belts, weights are still being juggled and a line-up was not yet available. Aitkin is listed in the Class A Lean and Mean category of the Guillotine wrestling rankings with Marshall Larson ranked No. 1 at 120 pounds. Nathan Trotter is ranked No. 7 at 113 and Carson Kullhem is No. 9 at 138.
Larson returns as a third place State finisher for 2020, along with State qualifier Jack Grell. Captains for the upcoming season are senior Hunter Hills and juniors Kullhem and Larson.
While the Gobblers only lost one senior, Nathan Rom, from the 2020 season, they have quite a few returning underclassmen vying to fill spots in the line. Some of the possibles are returning letterwinners: Larson, Trotter, Kullhem, Grell, Hills, Walker Jones, Tyler and Daniel DeCent, Kenny and James Erickson, Zach Leitinger, Jacob Espeseth, Nathan Stifter and Sam Ostrode.
The Gobblers are scheduled for five home bouts and on the road for 10. Most nights will be triangulars to get the matches in the short season and with no tournaments allowed.
Postseason and possible state tournaments are still being negotiated.
GOBBLER VARSITY SCHEDULE
(Host team listed first)
Jan. 15 – Home – BHV-Greenbush
Jan. 21 – Deer River-Cloquet
Jan. 22 – Royalton-ACGC
Jan. 26 – Albany-Foley
Jan. 29 – Walker-Hack-Akeley
Feb. 4 – Home – Brainerd-Proctor
Feb. 5 – No. Branch-Anoka
Feb. 9 – Long Prairie
Feb. 12 – C-I-Ogilvie
Feb. 18 - Elk River-Centennial
Feb. 19 – Home – Mid-State Conf.
Feb. 23 – Blackduck-Cass Lake
Feb. 27 – Holdingford-St. Agnes
Mar. 4 – Home – Gr. Rapids-Pine City
Mar. 6 – Home – Mid-State Conf.
Live-stream – isd1.org/athletics