Crestwood wrestling team enjoys outstanding season


CRESCO - The 2016-17 Crestwood varsity wrestling team recently wrapped up another impressive season as the Cadets chalked up 11 new school records.
Crestwood concluded its strong year with an overall dual record of 16-7. Every dual loss came against a 2A or 3A school  ranked in the top eight. The Cadets placed third in the NEIC standings with a mark of 4-2, placed third at the NEIC Tournament, took second at sectionals to qualify for the Region Dual Team Tournament, placed third at Districts and qualified three individuals for State. They included: Ryan Steffen (fifth at 132), Trae Pecinovsky (sixth at 152) and Trevor Trende (195).
Cadets who set new school records this season included: Trae Pecinovsky and Ryan Steffen - most wins in a season (45, first place); Trae Pecinovsky - most takedowns (121, fifth); Colter Bye - most escapes (57, first); Wyatt Scheidel - most escapes (48, third); Kaden Anderlik and Trevor Trende - most pins (26, tied for third); Chris Guest - most two-point nearfalls (19, fifth); Pecinovsky - most career wins (154, second); Pecinovsky - most career takedowns (346, fourth); Pecinovsky - most career pins (90, first).
Head Coach Keith Slifka also enjoyed a strong season. He was named Class 2A Northeast Iowa District Coach of the Year in late January. In 26 years of coaching, Slifka has amassed 249 dual wins and has  only 133 losses. While he was honored to earn the award, he was quick to give kudos to the kids.
“It’s impressive to see Trae and Ryan finish the year with a school-record 45 wins this season,” Cadet Coach Keith Slifka said. “Trae also set the record for career pins, which was good to see. It was great to see our guys break so many records. Those 11 records the guys set speak to how successful we were this season.
“Looking back at the dual season, our only losses were to ranked teams. We faced really good competition all year long. We know that when we wrestle those top teams, that will pay off for us later because our kids are battle-ready,” the coach said.
While Slifka, as well as every other coach, said he is never 100 percent satisfied, he is pleased with the way the team competed.
“As a coach, there is a part of you that always wants more, but overall, I’m very satisfied with the outcome of our season. Would I have liked to have had a few more State Qualifiers? Absolutely. Two years ago, we placed fourth as a team at State, so now that standard is set. But when you’ve got 14 weight classes to fill, it’s tough because every school is doing exactly what we’re doing. Throughout Iowa, there are some great coaches and wrestlers,” Slifka said.
Bright future
The coach is very optimistic about the future of the program, especially because this year’s team will graduate only two seniors (Pecinovsky and Trende).
“We will return a lot of kids for next year,” Slifka said. “We’ve already started getting ready for next season. We’ll have freestyle clubs and camps. Kids will be hitting the weight room.
“My goal for the future is to get more kids in the wrestling room. We want our younger kids to keep getting better each year,” Slifka said.
He was thrilled to see several younger wrestlers this season have success. Freshman Matthew Slifka tallied 26 wins, freshman Wyatt Scheidel chalked up 19 victories and Tyrone Grant had 13 wins.
“Matthew, Wyatt and Tyrone were all pleasant surprises for us,” the coach said. “We also had a lot of sophomores in the lineup who are still learning. The future is very bright for our kids. It comes down to what they do in the off-season.What happens during the summer makes champions at the end of the season.
“Kids that are going to work hard during the off-season will grow next year. But we’re still going to have to fill some big shoes with Trae Pecinovsky and Trevor Trende graduating. I was happy to see Trevor peak (at Districts). He was one match away from placing at State. Watching kids like Trevor (succeed) is the reason why I coach,” Slifka said.
The coach will definitely miss Trae and Trevor next year, but he said there are several kids who will step up next year.
“Judd Grover and Sawyer Peckham were not able to contribute because of injuries this year, but we look for them to come back strong next year. We also want some of the older kids next year to encourage the younger kids,” Slifka said.
The coach said he is hopeful the team can continue to grow as the sport evolves.
“This was my 26th year of coaching,” Slifka said. “Each year, you want to bring something new to the table because the sport is evolving. The sport is different from what it was even 10 years ago. You can’t just come out for wrestling during the season and be successful. You need to put in the work during the off-season, but that’s true in any sport.
“Our (overall) numbers weren’t great this year, but in most meets, we were able to put together a full lineup, which was a goal we had. As a team, we fell short of qualifying for the State Team Duals. Next year, one of our goals will be to break that ice and qualify for the State Team Duals.
“We also want to get some kids back to State who didn’t make it this year, including Kaden Anderlik and Jacob Knutson. Kaden and Jacob, who both qualified in 2016, had really tough weight classes (at districts). Next year, we’ll have three State qualifiers returning (including Ryan Steffen, Anderlik and Knutson),” Slifka said.
Next season, the coach said Steffen, who has 114 career wins, will be striving to become the first four-time State place finisher in Crestwood history, but he knows it won’t be easy.
“This season marked the third straight year Ryan was in the semifinals at State,” Slifka said. “Ryan will have some pressure on him next year, and with his success, he’ll be pushing for the career win total (which is 157 by Brandon Mayer). 
“Next year, I think Ryan will be breaking a lot of records. He’ll have a bull’s eye on him, but I think he can handle it. One kid that was standing in Ryan’s way this year was Noah Fye, who Ryan defeated with a major decision to place fifth at State. It takes a lot to win in wrestling, but you also need to have some luck. But sometimes, you also have to create some luck,” the coach said.
Cadet individual records for the 2016-17 season are as follows: Kaden Anderlik, sophomore, 38-7; Hunter Fousek, sophomore, 24-26; Cade Wenthold, sophomore, 5-17; Colter Bye, sophomore, 36-15; Cale Jackson, sophomore, 11-23; Stone Peckham, sophomore, 26-25; Sawyer Peckham, junior, 0-2; Jacob Knutson, junior, 31-16; Judd Grover, junior, 9-6; Jared Knutson, junior, 9-13; Trevor Trende, senior, 37-14; Ryan Steffen, junior, 45-12; Trae Pecinovsky, senior, 45-13; Chris Guest, junior, 35-20; Matthew Slifka, freshman, 26-22; Wyatt Scheidel, freshman, 19-32; Tyrone Grant, freshman, 13-30; Kole Menne, freshman, 5-9; Lee Egen, freshman, 2-3; Isaac Ellis, sophomore, 1-2; Josh Pavlovec, freshman, 1-2.

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