Keegan Senger couldn’t wait to make the transition from football to wrestling season.
“The day after we were done (with football), I was texting to see if any guys wanted to start working out for wrestling,’’ Senger said. “We were in the wrestling room the following Monday. I was excited for the new season.’’
For the Fosston members of the Fosston-Bagley co-op high school wrestling team, the switch in seasons has meant a big change in fortunes. The team has had success on the mat -- the Brawlers won the consolation championship in the annual Sertoma dual tournament, which concluded Saturday at Grand Forks Central High School.
Fosston-Bagley beat Turtle Mountain 40-30 in the consolation final.
The Brawlers went 3-1 in the Sertoma. In contrast, six of the athletes in the F-B wrestling lineup at the Sertoma were on the Fosston football team that went 0-9 this fall. And it wasn’t a close 0-9 -- the narrowest margin of defeat was 21 points.
“I dwelled on the football season until wrestling started,’’ junior Dane Schoenborn said. “But once you change gear, it’s a new season, a new sport. You have to forget about how you did (in football).’’
That’s not always easy.
Schoenborn said football is his favorite sport and he hopes to play in college. But the struggles in football also have been a building block for wrestling.
“As a competitor, you want to win,’’ Schoenborn said. “We were deprived of winning in football. That makes me work harder.
“Mentally, football has helped me as a wrestler. When you’re down 35-0 in football, it’s hard sometimes to find something to keep playing hard for. But you push yourself. That helps to find a way to keep pushing yourself in wrestling.’’
In addition to Schoenborn and Senger, Brawlers wrestlers Kaden Sanford, Jacob Lomen, Evan Chalich and Axel Munter were on the Fosston football team.
All six were top-six placers at the Section 8A wrestling tournament last season. Lomen, Senger, Schoenborn and Munter all had winning records and more than 20 wins last season.
Brawlers wrestling coach Pat Wolfe, who also coaches junior-high football, said low participation numbers hurt the football team. It’s the opposite in wrestling.
“Our wrestling numbers are way up,’’ Wolfe said. “We have 42 kids in the practice room. We’ve consistently had 30 to 36 kids on the team. This is the first time in my 22 years coaching the program that we’ve had more than 40.
“I don’t hear a lot of football talk in the wrestling room. Football season is done. They’ve put it behind them and moved on.’’
There is more satisfaction in success after the football struggles.
“You know what it feels like to lose,’’ Senger said. “Now, finally, it’s like we’ve been waiting all fall for this to happen.’’