By David Paulsen


With 14 returning letterwinners and two state qualifiers on this year’s Burlington High School wrestling squad, the team hopes to repeat as champions in the Southern Lakes Conference this season.

“With that many returning, we will have some returning letterwinners that will not be full-time starters this season,” head coach Jade Gribble said.

This year’s Demons will be anchored by seniors Derek Gill and Willie Ehlen, who both competed at state last season. Gill was third at state at the 119-pound weight class, while Ehlen finished sixth in the 145-pound class.

Seven other grapplers competed at sectional last year. They are seniors Ryan Jazdzewski, Brandt Gavin, Tyler Vorpahl, Matt Ehlen and Neal Miller; and juniors Cody Elsbury and Brody Fitzpatrick.

All teams this season will be dealing with new weights in 10 of the 14 weight classes. In April, the National Federation of State High School Association approved the new weight classes which are: 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285.

How do this year’s Demon grapplers fit into the new weight classes?

“Weights for the kids are all across the board,” Gribble said. “We have a few more big kids this year than usual.”

A total of 41 athletes are out for the squad. That includes 11 seniors, nine juniors, 11 sophomores and 10 freshmen.