Cody Steffenhagen was not expecting to be Sheboygan South’s head wrestling coach.
But he is after Theran Goodale moved back home by his family a few weeks before the season began.
“He just asked me to keep it going, to continue what we started last year,” Steffenhagen said. “From going from four wrestlers back in what, 2017 or whatever it was, to 24 wrestlers last year and I’m about at the same number this year.”
Steffenhagen, who wrestled at Oconto (2003 graduate), moved to the area for a job and became an assistant coach for Goodale last year.
Steffenhagen helped coach youth programs where he grew up, but this is the first time he’s running a program and is thankful for the support from his wrestlers and school officials.
“It’s definitely overwhelming and I know what I’ve got to do,” Steffenhagen said. “I’m excited to move forward.”
The coach says his philosophy is basic when it comes to moves – nothing ‘fancy or crazy’ – and he just wants them to wrestle their match.
“My biggest thing is to make them believe in themselves,” Steffenhagen said. “We work as a team. The kids will quit on themselves before they quit on each other. I push ‘believe in yourself, keep pushing,’ because I’m not going to give up on them. If they’re up there in that wrestling room with me, I’m going to do the best I can to make them the best they can be.”
The Redwings, who were 1-6 in the Fox River Classic last year, feature sophomore Cade Duwell. He will wrestle at 113 pounds this year after going 3-4 at 106 last season.
Steffenhagen says he is dedicated and wants to learn more.
“He’s always pushing forward, looking forward to the next step in his wrestling career,” the coach said. “That’s his dream to make it to the state championships here one day.”
Two others South will count on include senior Mitchell Prueser, who will compete at 220 this season.
He’s a ‘hard-charger’ and has taken a big step up when it comes to leadership, according to Steffenhagen.
“If I’m not there right away for practice, he’s always being in charge and getting the team going,” he said. “He’s always pushing his teammates to be the best that they can.”
Sophomore Aden Katz also returns and will wrestle at 182.
The coach says he is similar to Prueser and is also a co-captain.
“Those two guys are a pair to be reckon with when it comes to leadership, wanting to get better and making the team better,” Steffenhagen said.
This is coach Mitchell Elmer’s fourth year as head coach, and as many as three seniors have been with him the entire time.
Cassius Rohadfox, Colby Meissner and Anakin Paulson are a reason Elmer’s theme this year is finish strong.
“I’d say it’s kind of based on those seniors that have been with me,” Elmer said. “I say finish strong as finish strong in takedowns, in the periods, for matches, during the season and for those guys, finish strong for your wrestling career. So yeah, that’s definitely bittersweet (this is their last year). But I think all three of them can have success.”
Elmer wrestled in Stillwater, Minn., and finished third at state before continuing the sport at UW-Whitewater. He then got a job at Acuity Insurance and became the coach a few months later.
“My first year I was still young, active, brought a hard-nosed college workout work ethic, and those (three seniors) all kind of bought into it,” Elmer said. “They weren’t good freshman year but they bought in to working hard and what I coach, and they’re going to have some success senior year.”
NORTH AT A GLANCE
Last year: 0-7 in the FRCC
n North features five seniors this season.
n Three of them have been in the program all four years.
GLAD TO BE BACK
Cassius Rohadfox: He made all-Fox River Classic honorable mention last year thanks to a 5-2 record as a junior at 285 pounds.
Colby Meissner: This senior was 3-4 in the league a year ago at 138-152.
Anakin Paulson: He is also a fourth-year varsity wrestler.
SOUTH AT A GLANCE
Last year: 1-6 in the FRCC
- Cody Steffenhagen is the new coach after serving as an assistant last year.
- The team beat North for its lone Fox River Classic Conference win last season.
GLAD TO BE BACK
Cade Duwell: The sophomore is a top returner after going 3-4 in the league last year.
Mitchell Prueser: This senior looks to compete at 220 pounds this season.
Aden Katz: A sophomore, he’s primed to wrestle at 182.