Many bright spots for PHS wrestling team

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth wrestling team came on strong at the end of this past season and the Panthers will look to continue that surge for the 2018-19 campaign.

First-year Panther head coach Rick Gruber was very pleased with the improvement by his squad.

“As the season progressed our wrestlers were getting better each week. I believe the keys to our late-season success were due to having good attitudes, perfecting technique/reaction, gaining confidence and just the overall experiences throughout the season,” said Grueber.

“Injuries did plague us somewhat into the end of the season, however we were able to still have a good showing as the wrestlers fought through it.

“Overall, I thought we had a successful season – finishing fourth in conference [East Central] and second at regionals. We learned a lot, gained some great experience and had a pretty good finish,” said Gruber.

PHS competed in a Division 1 regional at Cedarburg and qualified an impressive nine wrestlers for the sectional. The Panthers placed fourth in the ECC Tournament, led by senior Jake Hefter and freshman Devin Gore who won the 195- and 113-pound titles.

“Our biggest improvement through the season was our ability to ride and score near fall points against our opponents. Confidence improved as well when wrestlers realized their capabilities and began to execute their moves successfully,” said Gruber.

“I think that if we could’ve started the season with the team we had at the end of the season, we would’ve brought home another four or five team wins.”

PHS finished 2-4 in ECC duals (6-14 overall).

“My first year coaching was a rewarding experience. I enjoyed working with the kids and seeing them grow individually, not only as wrestlers but as young men. I am proud of their accomplishments as they’ve gained a lot of respect with the teams and coaches we participated against throughout the season,” said the coach.

Gruber appreciated all the support he received and the support the PHS squad received this past season. He thanked his family for its support; his assistant coaches, CJ Wiese and Austin Wiese; Mike Briggs for his support of the program; the parents; Plymouth Wrestling Booster Club; Tyler Luedtke for shooting photos of the Panthers; The Review for its coverage of the team; and all the PHS wrestling fans.


Hefter was named the Panthers’ Most Valuable Player. He finished 28-5 and had a team-high 19 pins. Hefter also earned the Most Pins award.

Other award-winners were Gore, Rookie of the Year; sophomore Jack Miller, Most Improved; junior Will Birkholz (Academic Highest Honors); junior Josh Koll, Most Takedowns (95); and senior Kyle Schwibinger (Academic Highest Honors).

Koll led the Panthers in wins with 30.

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