Head wrestling coach reflects on memorable first yearFirst-year head coach Matt Gross had a lot of positive things to say about this year’s Jesup wrestling team.
“This entire season was something I will never forget,” Gross reflected. “I was extremely proud of the overall team commitment to the program and the hard-work that was displayed every day.”
One example he noted was what he saw from junior Jesus Silva who improved his grades and dropped fifty pounds in order to compete on the team this year. Another big moment he saw was the team’s senior night dual win against Aplington-Parkersburg.
“As a team, winning the dual against Aplington-Parkersburg on senior night was absolutely electric,” he said.
The team set goals to build the team. More specifically, Gross said they focused on building a positive attitude in the wrestling room, get better every day, and to learn from their mistakes.
“I felt that all of the wrestlers exceeded in meeting these goals,” Gross said. “We continued to push each other in the wrestling room and always left the room as a family. The attitude helped every wrestler get better each day.”
“We had a lot of first and second year wrestlers on the team,” he continued, “and seeing them develop throughout the year is a testament to their mindset and their commitment to learning from their mistakes.”
This season, the team advanced two athletes to the traditional state tournament: Senior Carter Littlefield and junior Jerret Delagardelle.
“Wrestling at the state tournament in Iowa is the pinnacle for high school sports,” Coach Gross reflected. “I was extremely proud of Jerret Delagardelle and Carter Littlefield and their performance. Not only did they both get their hands raised, but they also represented the community with class. Overall, the experience was so much more than I anticipated as a coach, and I cannot wait for more J-Hawk wrestlers to experience that in the future.”
The team’s seniors were Carter Littlefield, Keaton Roscovious, Izak Krueger, and Brady Wilson. Each player left a lasting impression on their coach.
“Carter was been wrestling for all of his life and his ability on the mat reflects that,” Gross said. “He is the type of guy that rocks pajama pants because he can and tries to sneak in a little mustache because it looks "tough." As a coach, I am going to miss his jokes and his ability to always get me fired up for using the legs when riding on top.”
“An absolute “stud” is the best way to describe Keaton,” Gross said. “His ability to flip a switch and turn on a wrestler's mentality will be missed. He always was pushing everyone in the room to get better and found ways to be a silent leader. I am going to miss his honesty in the wrestling room and how much that helped me grow as a coach. Thank you!”
As for Izak Krueger -- “I am not sure that I even coached Izak this year,” Gross joked. “He was the king of funk and so much fun to watch. My favorite memory of him is when he got a defensive pin and let everyone know how cool it really was! Izak was such a hard worker and passionate about wrestling. He encouraged the team to continue to push and get better. His leadership will be missed greatly next year!”
“Brady was a workhorse with rubber shoulders,” Gross said. “There was a stretch in the season when he wrestled five guys ranked in the top five and he didn't say a word about how hard it was. He always gave 100 percent effort and left it all on the mat. Brady is joining the Air Force after high school, and they will be ecstatic to have someone with his work ethic to be part of their team!”