New head wrestling coach proposes changes

Ainsley Giese, Staff Writer

Former Assistant Coach James Thompson will be the new head coach of Piper Wrestling. Former Head Coach Todd Harris is retiring after serving as head coach for 6 years.

“At first I was resistant to the idea, I have been a head coach before and didn’t know if I wanted to be in charge again,” said Thompson. “As time went on Coach Harris gave me more and more responsibility over the program and continued to talk to me about taking over when he retired. I did not know that it would happen this season, but shortly before winter break Coach Harris told me this would be his last season.”

Thompson has been the assistant coach for 3 years, and has three main goals for improving the program this season. He says he wants to focus on efficiency, mindset, and culture. 

“I want to have shorter, high-paced practices instead of longer practices,” Thompson stated. “I want our wrestlers to be confident to take chances when wrestling, and not be scared to make mistakes. I want the culture of our wrestling team to be seen by others in the school and community. I also want our team to lead the way in connecting with and supporting other sports and activities in the building and community.”

Thompson also plans on making some changes to team management. He wants to have managers for specific jobs at the meets.

“I want to have a schedule set at the beginning of the season with which managers attend each event,” said Thompson. “I am going to provide more training before and during the season on how to use mat boss, and how to go back and edit stats to make corrections during the week. Each event will have managers responsible for filming and stats (mat boss), but also I will have at least one manager dedicated to photography and social media during events.”

Girls Coach Madelyn Turner finished her first year as a coach for Piper Wrestling. She said her season went well, but definitely could’ve been better! She is excited to see the changes next year and work on strengthening the team.

 “I’m really excited to see how much the program grows and changes next year!” said Turner. “I’m also excited because I know Coach Thompson has a lot of great ideas for what we can do to make our program better and I can’t wait to see where he takes us!”

Freshman Maia Dolinar had a great season and went to state at the end of February. She shares her hopes for the next season.

“The season went very well and I improved a lot. I do think next season will be different. I would like to see less running and more wrestling,” said Dolinar.