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New coach determined to put competitive WHS wrestling team on mat

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Letter winners poised to lead the Worthington Trojans wrestling team this winter include (front row, from left) Jaden Hennings, Mason Schutz, Jose Alvarez, Ethan Meyer, Oscar Galvez, Juan Guizar, (back) Kent Lais, Kyle Mullaney, Tommy Lais, Damon Schutz, Cole Hennings and Tanner Hennings. Not pictured: Zayden Abdulrahman. (Doug Wolter/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- With only one senior on the team, experience is probably not the Worthington Trojans’ strongest trait heading into the 2019-20 high school wrestling campaign.

They’ve got a new head coach, too. But experience isn’t an issue in that category.

Kirk Feit, a 1990 Worthington High School graduate, has logged more than 40 years of experience in wrestling. He placed third in the Minnesota state high school tournament as a Trojan, and he has worked as a high school wrestling official for 13 seasons. He has labored with Worthington area youth wrestlers for about 10 years. He knows his way around a wrestling mat, to put it mildly.

“Some of the kids I had in the youth program are in varsity now,” he said Monday afternoon after leading his troops through a practice session.

Worthington will open the regular season Thursday at Windom/Mountain Lake. Feit doesn’t want to talk about wins and losses at this stage, but he’s determined to put together a competitive team.

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“We’re young. We only have one senior. The best way I can put it is we’re going to be competitive. We’re not going to win every match, but we’re going to be competitive. I like the kids’ fire,” Feit said. “We want to be competitive no matter what team we’re wrestling. A lot of things can be overcome in wrestling with effort.”

WHS graduated three All-Big South Conference seniors following the 2018-19 season: Erik Artiga, Brayden Donkersloot and state qualifier Jacob Neuberger. But senior Kyle Mullaney is back, and he figures to be a force in the heavyweight division after concluding an outstanding football campaign.

“He’s one of the kids I had in the youth program,” Feit remembers. “And I called him ‘The Mauler’ even then.”

Highly motivated and readily adaptable to changing situations, Mullaney, said his coach, can be good enough to qualify for the state tournament next February.

Another top Trojan, junior 138/145-pounder Damon Schutz is also experienced. His lanky body allows him to gain leverage on the mat. He’s hard-nosed, tough to ride and well-rounded on his feet.

“Damon’s just a tough out,” said Feit, who includes Schutz as another one capable of making state.

Zayden Abdulrahman (junior, 120) and Jaden Hennings (junior, 152/160) are also worth a long look. Down low, promising freshmen Ethan Meyer (106) and Oscar Galvez (113) give the Trojans a chance to score points early.

“We start strong and we finish strong,” said Feit.

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How well the Trojans perform in the middle weights may determine how successful they can be in winning matches. The team will go against several strong teams this year, including two in their own section -- Marshall and Fairmont -- both who are currently ranked in the top four in Minnesota Class AA.

When asked to reveal any specific tactics he wants his Trojans to pursue, Feit smiled.

“I’ve been around it for 40 years. It’s still the basics,” he suggested. If there’s anything he wants his matmen to be especially schooled in, however, it’s conditioning.

“Conditioning can win you matches or it can lose you matches,” he said.

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WHS wrestling coach Kirk Feit (standing) directs the action during a recent practice session. (Doug Wolter/The Globe)

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