by Jackie Jenson
Photography by Thru Him Photography
Olympic Wrestler Dan Gable famously said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” Regarded as one of the most dominant competitors and coaches the sport has ever known, the iconic mat man noted being a successful wrestler comes down to one thing: mental toughness.
Frazee wrestler Garrett Malstrom does add one caveat to Gable’s
simply telling statement, “Hard work gets everything done.” Playing football and participating in track and field too, the Frazee wrestling phenom says being successful in athletics (especially the demanding sport of wrestling) means using time to your advantage.
A good plan doesn’t hurt either,
“You just need to pay attention,” Malstrom explains. “We start wrestling season just after the opening of deer hunting and go into February. So, it is always about managing your time to do everything you want.”
After a while though, Malstrom says the schedule becomes almost routine. Routine, however, does not mean easy. In addition to late nights, there are also early mornings. Four a.m. work outs are just part of the highly scheduled workout regimen. To make it all work with regards to daily practices, weekly meets and endless homework, the Hornet wrestler says a winning athlete just needs to stay on top of everything, wrestle smart and stay healthy.
Malstrom notes, “We live wrestling Monday through Friday with Wednesday being our extreme
conditioning day. Jumping rope to bear crawls, we do it all. There is a lot of stair work in the beginning for fitness and a lot of live wrestling
after we get rolling.”
Uniting individual and team goals, a key component to Malstrom’s
wrestling achievements as well as that of the Frazee team, is the
veteran Hornet coaching staff. Comprised of head coach Clay Nagel and assistant coaches Marty Aho, Dennis Schemerhorn, Kyler Wagner, Steve Jepson, and Brenton
Newling, they are the constant that readies the team year after year.
According to Malstrom, it is
thanks the coaches’ consummate guidance that the team feels well prepared for each match. They are a strong coaching team that demonstrates daily how working together
everyone can achieve more.
Malstrom says, “Our coaches are some of the best in the state. They make me better.”
With numerous wins under their collective belts, the Frazee Hornet wrestling program is one of the most successful in the state. Known for being a well-oiled machine,
they have racked up various
sectional and state championship
titles, making them a formidable
wrestling opponent for more than
two decades and counting.
“We won the section championship for the 21st time in 2013 and placed fourth in the State Class A
Tournament,” notes the team’s
former head coach, John Barlund. “Garrett also finished third in state and was chosen for the Wells Fargo All-Tournament Team in 2013. This is the second consecutive year he was chosen.”
In addition to success, the Frazee wrestling program also has the
support of the city of Frazee. The Hornet community is a wrestling force in and of itself.
“I love being part of the Frazee
wrestling program. There is such a legacy surrounding it. The pressure is great, but we help each other out,” describes Malstrom.
To be part of that kind of history is inspirational, remarks Malstrom.
It is a shared heritage decades in the making and something that affords each wrestler a lasting connection to the sport and the city of Frazee.
“Alumni come to all the meets,” he adds. “Some even come to practice and help us with technique.”
For Malstrom, a heavier weight class wrestler who occasionally has had trouble finding sparring partners, it is small things like having alumni in his weight class come in and train with him that has made all the
difference through the years.
With an unwavering dedication to making all meets to cheer on their mat men, the city of Frazee
provides an amazing energy – a
secret weapon which gives the
wrestling team an undeniable edge. They truly are another weapon in the Frazee wrestling arsenal.
“The community supports us so much,” says Malstrom. “Our meets are filled with fans. They are such a force. We can’t help but do well.”
With a solid training program,
consistent coaching, and an electric fan base, exceeding expectations has become a specialty of Hornet
Wrestlers. For Malstrom, this also means bridging that success into academia too. So, in addition to
excelling in sports, he also does well in school.
“I like science class and may even major in forensics in college. I love problem solving,” a quality that Malstrom believes goes hand in hand with wrestling.
As a three sport athlete – wrestling, football, and track – there are many opportunities for Malstrom to play athletics beyond high school. Eyed by recruiters for the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University, Garrett is secure in the notion that the right prospect will present itself when the time is right during his 2014-2015 senior year.
“I am open to a lot of opportunities
at this point. I want to play for a
Division I college somewhere.”
With an electric excitement in the air about his senior year at Frazee Vergas High School, there is also a slight sense of sadness too, for each time Garrett completes a sporting season, it is his last as a Hornet.
“The community has been so
supportive. I will miss that.”
As sports go, wrestling is a
challenging one for both mind and body concludes Malstrom. In a game of takedowns, reversals, pins and nail-biting decisions, a good wrestler needs to pay attention to detail, he says, knowing this will
also guarantee him success in his next challenge – college –
a place that will respond well to his
personal motto: “Hard work gets everything done.” Indeed.