GVSU club wrestling looks to improve in early matches

​GVL/ Hannah Zajac- Dylan Dwyer, a business major and freshman at Grand Valley State, competes on Saturday Feb. 4, 2017 inside the Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale. ​

Hannah Zajac

​GVL/ Hannah Zajac- Dylan Dwyer, a business major and freshman at Grand Valley State, competes on Saturday Feb. 4, 2017 inside the Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale. ​

Kellen Voss

Every season includes some growing pains early on, and the Grand Valley State wrestling club is no exception. 

The Laker team is relatively young but also showing glimpses of its potential. But for the team members, continued improvement is the number one focus as the season is just getting underway.

Six young Laker wrestlers competed at the Ben McMullen Open this past Saturday, Nov. 4. The open featured wrestlers from lots of prestigious wrestling programs across four different states.

Even though every Laker recorded at least one win this weekend, no GVSU wrestler placed on the day. Although the team’s success in placing hasn’t been there yet, head coach Rick Bolhuis understands that the process to develop his wrestlers will take time.

“It’s pretty early, and we’re excited about the potential we have in the room,” Bolhuis said. “But the results from last weekend definitely show that we have some work to do.”

The wrestling program has shown flashes of being successful already, especially from the young wrestlers in the Fall Brawl in the GVSU Fieldhouse Sunday, Oct. 29. Even though the club only had eight wrestlers compete (all freshmen), three titles were claimed that weekend for GVSU, including by Joseph Posledni at the 157 weight class, Brady Bischer at 174 and Mitchell Krahulik in the heavyweight bracket.

“It’s nice to see guys go out and get their first college win, and we’ve gotten to experience that these past two weekends,” Bolhuis said. “Even though we have a lot to do between now and March, the younger guys have been showing promise.”

The wrestling team has a good mix of returners and fresh faces to keep them well-balanced. Coach Bolhuis liked to focus on the young guys, particularly Posledni.

“(Posledni) won some belts at the tournament on Saturday, and he’s put together some good wins this year,” Bolhuis said. “He has shown the improvement we’ve been pleased with, and he’s (off) to a great start this year.” 

Posledni already has five wins this season.

Coach Bolhuis went on to express his favorite parts of coaching this team, as he’s excited to watch the returning and new teammates bond and develop.

“We’re going to keep putting them to work, seeing how they respond to challenges; that’s always a fun thing to see as a coach,” Bolhuis said. “I continue to look forward to seeing the level of the work we put in, but it’s early, so we still have to get these guys going.”

The GVSU club team hasn’t gotten a chance to fully bond yet this year. But good team chemistry will come with time as they have their first road trip as a full team at the GLC Duals at the University of Toledo Saturday, Nov. 18.

“I’m looking forward to us finally getting some travel in; it’s that first road trip where it clicks for most guys,” Bolhuis said. “I think the older guys have done a good job showing the young guys what (this sport) is all about, so we’ll get a chance to make a lot of gains on that trip.”

No matter the early struggles and relative inexperience of the team, the season has barely started and the Lakers are showing signs of being contenders, and the coaches have taken notice.

“We think we have a team that can be in contention, assuming we stay healthy and get guys at the right weights,” Bolhuis said. “It’s going to be a multiple-team battle in the GLIAC, so we got to get things going by late January to put several guys on the podium in late March.”

GVSU wrestling gets another chance to improve this weekend as they travel to Henry Ford College for the Whizzer Open. The open is Sunday, Nov. 12, and starts at 10 a.m.