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Raider wrestling program taking strides in building a winner

Rome wasn't built in a day and the Lake Park-Audubon wrestling program is taking that path and way of thinking.

LP-A head coach Travis Nagel is in his fourth year of rebuilding the Raider wrestling program and it's coming right along, with a good season last year where two grapplers qualified for the Class 1A state meet.

This season, individual goals will again be focused on, since the Raiders will not be able to fill up to three weight classes consistently.

But that's not saying the season is a wash -- for from it -- since the majority of the squad is made up of seventh graders through sophomores.

"It takes time," Nagel said of building a team basically from scratch. "We are a young team and we'll be going for experience this year. The numbers are good and we'll have almost all back next year."

The Raiders have one senior out in Brian Anderson, who missed the season last year due to injury.

Two juniors are also out in Joseph Anderson and heavyweight Brandon Shoeberl, who will be one of the leaders on the team.

"Brandon will be one of the leaders, along with some of the sophomores who are out," Nagel said. "But three-fourths of our team is made up of seventh through ninth grade wrestlers."

Shoeberl had a good outing in the Hillsboro, N.D., individual tournament to start the season with a 4-1 record.

Seventh grader Mason Swegarden went 5-0 in the tourney at 103.

Other Raiders who saw good mat time in 2007-08 include sophomores Jon Nelson (171 pounds), Derek Braseth (145), Jacob Knutson (125) and Joseph Anderson.

"Most of those guys with experience have been with the program the full four years and they are picking up on our strategies and what we are looking out of them," Nagel said.

The success of last year's state-qualifying seniors Max Medenwald and Josh Seley is still hanging in the air, as well.

"Those guys have provided a springboard for these guys," Nagel said. "They showed that you can do something with some hard work."