FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Lathrop Malemutes wrestling program is one of the best in the state of Alaska, as they are the defeding state champs.
But as the old adage says, new year, new team.
And the same can be said about this Lathrop squad that it is full of youth, and that is what Head Coach Westley Bockert said is the theme of this year's team.
"Yeah, I mean this year we don't have a lot of seniors. So we've got a young crew that could put some stress on others that you're not used to. So, I think it's just the same thing that any other team goes through. I do think it's a challenge, it's a fun challenge I guess, but I still like to have a state championship running with a bunch of seniors that's always you know, that's a comfortable feeling," said Bockert.
The Malemutes were the first Interior squad to claim the state title since West Valley grabbed it in 2002, and now this year's Mutes prepare for the long season ahead.
But as Bockert laid out, this is a new team, and they have to be wary about getting complacent.
"Well, I mean it's nice. It validates hard work. I think that the concern is getting complacent with that this team isn't last year. Our team today isn't last year's team. That's hard for kids to remember sometimes so they try to run on those fumes," said Bockert.
The Malemutes look to start their campaign on the right foot with the Battle for the Interior tournament happening this weekend.