With a young and inexperienced roster this past season, Brookfield Central's wrestling team is hoping the lumps it took will pay off down the road.
The Lancers set aside goals in terms of wins and losses and focused instead on growing each individual wrestler as the season wore on. That philosophy was proven successful when Brookfield Central had five wrestlers qualify for sectionals.
"When considering wins and losses, we struggled," Brookfield Central coach Chris Demos said. "This is the youngest (experiencewise) team I have ever worked with. For that reason, I held many back on the JV level for much of the season. If you focus on the growth over the season, there were many positives.
"First, almost every athlete recorded a win this season. Secondly, our winning percentage increased as the season went on and several athletes matched or bested opponents that the previously lost to. Lastly, the number of athletes on the team actually increased this season."
Brookfield Central will graduate seniors Dhruv Patel, Alex Uy, Pedro Delgado and Matt Aulgur. Patel and Aulgur were captains on last season's team.
The Lancers will bring back four of their five sectional qualifiers and four others who wrestled at regionals, including third-team All-Greater Metro Conference wrestler junior Dayveon Martin.
In addition to Martin, freshman Ben Vandenberg, sophomore Alex Craig and sophomore Jacob Somlai will be back after competing at sectionals. Freshman Max Miller, junior Breck Duncan, freshman Tommy Maurice and sophomore Sincere Tatum all could return from Brookfield Central's regional lineup.
"I believe this season has set the foundation for the next season and left a burning desire for success," Demos said. "The group is actively participating in offseason training and developed a chemistry that will bode well next season."