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Packers open mat season this weekend

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The Austin Packers will be dropping down to Class AA in wrestling this season and it will be an experienced team making the transition on the mat.

There are a total of 12 returning letterwinners on the roster of the Austin Packers. This includes a pair of state qualifiers in Erick Power and Devon Felten.

Power, a junior this season for the Packers, won the True Second match at 119 pounds in last season's section meet to qualify for state. Felten, a junior, advanced to the section finals at 103 pounds and lost in the championship, but still made it to state.

The state qualifiers from last season gained valuable experience in the big meet. Power lost his two matches on the opening day of the state tournament. Felten lost his first match, but made it through the wrestlebacks into the second day of state and finished with a 29-10 record.

"Devon (Felten) is a returning All-Big Nine Conference wrestler," Austin coach Bill Kinney said. "Our captains this season will be Erick (Power), Brennen Russell, and Dylan Diekmann."

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Three other wrestlers from the Packers were section placewinners last season. Brandon Cotter, a freshman this season, placed fourth at 125 pounds. Russell, a junior, placed fifth and Michael Gaines, a sophomore, placed sixth in his weight class.

Diekmann, Michael Holets, and Joe Williamson are the returning senior letterwinners for the Packers. Joseph and Joshua Maxfield round out the group of returning junior lettermen.

Braden Eggum and Mitch Tebay, along with Gaines, are the returning sophomore letterwinners. Cotter is the other returning letterman for the Packers.

In addition to the change in classes for the post-season, there are a few other alterations for matches this season. The weight classes have been changed to 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, and 285 pounds.

The Austin Packers wrestling team opens the season on Saturday at the Winona Invitational. The first dual meet will be next Thursday at perennial conference powerhouse Albert Lea.

AUSTIN PACKERS WRESTLING

ROSTER

Seniors — Dylan Diekmann*, Michael Holets*, Joe Williamson*. Juniors— Devon Felten*, Joseph Maxfield*, Joshua Maxfield*, Erick Power*, Brennen Russell*. Sophomores— Braden Eggum*, Michael Gaines*, Mitch Tebay*. Freshmen— Nathan Brinkman, Brandon Cotter*, Connor Eads, Riley Grinstead, Kole Igou, Joe Kamp, Tyler Peterson.

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* Denotes returning letterwinner.

SCHEDULE

(Home meets at Berven Gym)

Dec. 3 — at Winona Invitational, 10 a.m.

Dec. 8— at Albert Lea, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10— at Andover Invitational, 10 a.m.

Dec. 15— Rochester Mayo, 7 p.m.

Dec. 17— at Fillmore Central Invitational, 10 a.m.

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Dec. 22— at Mankato East, 7 p.m.

Jan. 5— Mankato West, 7 p.m.

Jan. 13— at Faribault, 7 p.m.

Jan. 19— Rochester Century, 7 p.m.

Jan. 21— at Eden Prairie Invitational, 10 a.m.

Jan. 26— at Winona, 7 p.m.

Jan. 28— at South St. Paul Invitational, 10 a.m.

Jan. 31— Rochester John Marshall, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4— at Mankato East Invitational, 10 a.m.

Feb. 9— Owatonna, 7 p.m.

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