Some unexpected changes to the Henry Patriot wrestling program happened in 2016, including adding a new co-head coach, Anthony Minus, to partner with longtime now co-head coach Peter Yang. Together they bring a vision of growth through community.
The program also brings back senior team manager Cabrina Cain, as well as two new managers, Blair Mclaughlin and Pachia Vang. Under Cain’s leadership each has filled a roll in data collection, social media updates and team organization, leading to smooth practices and matches.
In November and December the Patriots shot hot out of the gates defeating two St. Paul schools, Humboldt and Harding. In other matches Henry dominated the likes of Irondale and Brooklyn Center rounding out four wins to begin the season. Wresting has its ups and downs, and our patriots are resilient. Our three losses were six points or less.
In all of this the wrestling team has become a tight knit family; having each other’s backs and supporting one another to make solid choices. Leadership is not easy, yet we are learning day by day.
Two of our youngest wrestlers are second-generation patriots! Former wrestling team manager Elodie Yang (class of 2012 and currently attending North Hennepin Technical College) now has her younger sibling in the program, Tommy Yang of Olson Middle School. Tommy is wrestling J.V. and Varsity at a whopping 95 pounds.
Former varsity wrestler Damarius Gilmer (class of 2013 and attended RCTC) has a younger brother Laquarius Gilmer. He too attends Olson Middle School and is now a member of the Patriot wrestling team. Laquarius is looking forward to wrestling and contributing on the J.V team this season. Patriot roots run deep; we are proud of our graduates and now their siblings who are continuing the legacy!
We also hosted Senior Night on January 12. The following individuals were recognized: Kaitlyn Brown, Pheng Xiong, Demonyah Ferguson, Seakh Menheer, Quentin Skinner, Mauj Xiong, Kavin Cha and Cabrina Cain.
Former Henry head wrestling coach Dave Zappa partnered with the Police Athletic League to develop a youth wrestling program. This is the second year and it’s grown 100 percent. Recently we invited the future Patriots to practice at Henry. We would like to continue to develop this program and look forward to their future practices and matches at our facility. Together we are developing future wrestlers, encouraging scholars and families to become Patriots.
There’s also a change in the way team fees are paid for the grapplers: Instead of paying out-of-pocket, team members age 16 and older “volunteer” at the Mall of America maintaining clean spaces, scanning tickets and in some cases operating rides. The Mall pays a stipend to our team based on number of volunteers. This was also a great opportunity for them to gain valuable work experience.
The Patriots are 7 and 5 overall, so don’t miss upcoming matches and tournaments: 2/2 Mpls South; 2/4 Edison Tournament; 2/10 J.V. Tourney at Washburn; 2/17 Team Sections at Totino Grace; and 2/24 Individual Sections at Orono.