Story by Alex Missey
The Missouri Valley College wrestling team has had success for years and this year seems to be no different.
Last year, the Vikings sent 11 wrestlers to the National Championship tournament which put them in a good place for this season. The team is a young one with nine of the 11 coming back to finish what they started a year ago.
The Vikings enter the season ranked number three in the nation which puts a target on their back.
“We have been ranked high many times and it makes everyone compete a little harder against you,” said Head Coach Mike Machholz. The team’s goals for the Vikings this year are to win a national title and win their 12th regional championship.
“Another big goal for the team is to have 12 All-Americans which would be an honor. The strongest point to this team is they are a family unit and are very tight knit. We have a good foundation of kids,” said Machholz. This year’s team is highlighted by the battle that occurs daily in the 197 pound weight class. This class features two nationally ranked wrestlers in the form of number one ranked Carl Lawrence (senior of Sullivan, Missouri) and number three ranked Josh Manu (senior of North Providence, R.I.). Lawrence brought home a second-place finish from the national tournament in last year’s season.
These two battle it out every day in the wrestling room to make themselves better when it counts at the end.
“Watching them every day is like watching a National tournament match,” said Machholz.
Lawrence and Manu have the drive and determination to make the team better and practice harder just from what they do daily on the practice mat. The Vikings hope to be the last team standing in March when they head to the national tournament in Topeka, Kansas.
Photo below: Viking wrestler Josh Manu and Coach Mike Machholz. (Photo by D. Roberts)