Cyclones begin first season under Bendorf
The HCHS boys wrestling team is back in action now under new coach Adam Bendorf, replacing John Murtaugh, who retired at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Practices are underway, preparing for a new season set to begin Dec. 2 with a tournament consisting of nine schools hosted by HCHS.
“You can’t not acknowledge it,” Bendorf said regarding his new position. “It’s in my face everyday. I’ve wrestled my whole life. I started when I was five. I wrestled in college, but you watch coaches and you think they should’ve done it this way or that way, but once you step on the mat as the coach, you feel like ‘what do I do?’ I’m trying to just let it fly, remember what I’ve been taught, remember the examples I’ve had and seen, and just do my best.”
Only a few days in, Bendorf is already impressed with the attitude and effort brought to the practices.
“I think everyone has had a lot of positive attitudes,” Bendorf said. “I’ve seen a lot of smiles and we’re having fun. We just talked about my goals of having fun, but winning is also fun, and learning how to push your limits and grow your talents.”
The Cyclones lost three seniors from the previous school year in Bret Van Baale, Matthew Schwery, and Zane Bendorf. Bendorf appeared at the state meet last season in Des Moines, where he was one of four Cyclones who got to represent Harlan. During the competition, Bendorf earned his 100th career pin.
However, the Cyclones have a lot of returning students with high aspirations.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Junior Spencer Fink. “I want to be up on that podium for state, get a lot of trophies, brackets hanging on the wall.”
Fink talked about techniques he’s been working on to prepare himself for the season ahead.
“You’ve got to be conditioned,” he said. “It’s not like you can go out there and just hope to win. You’ve got to work for the win.”
Following their first meet at home, the Cyclones will remain at home for their next two of three meets. Dec. 5 will be a quad that features Harlan, along with St. Albert and Glenwood, followed by a Harlan Triangular two meets later that features Clarinda and Shenandoah.
“In wrestling, you start the season with the end in mind,” Bendorf said. “Every match between now and mid February is about preparation for mid February. If we start out a little slower or a little behind, I’m okay with that, just as long as we recognize it and keep building and keep our eyes on the prize.”