Logan-Magnolia Panthers

(Logan) -- Successful wrestling seasons have become winter normalcy for the Logan-Magnolia Panthers. This year is primed to be much of the same for Coach Dan Thompson's team. Thompson says the season has already started better than previous seasons.

"We came out of the fall sports season a lot healthier than we did last year," Thompson said, "We're doing pretty good health-wise and just trying to get everybody down to weight and get our lineup situated."

The Panthers return three state medalists from last year's team. Sophomore Hagen Heistand placed third at 113 last season and is currently ranked first by IAWrestle at 120 pounds. Junior Briar Reisz is a two-time state-runner up and is currently ranked second at 145 pounds.

"They're at this year-round and always working at it. They bring a lot of energy and practice really hard, which helps our room," Thompson said about Heistand and Reisz. 

Last season, heavyweight Barret Pitt came off an injury suffered during football season and placed eighth at state. Pitt returns this year with the hopes of progressing much like he did last season. 

"From the start of January to the state tournament he made big strides," Thompson said, "He's a really tactical wrestler, he's really smart. He had to wrestle a certain game plan down the stretch and executed it. We're excited for him."

The Panthers also return district qualifiers Sean Thompson (113), Gavin Maguire (160) and Rex Johnsen (220). 

The Panthers took home championships at last year's WIC Duals and the inaugural WIC individual tournament. Repeating won't be easy for the Panthers this season, who will have to hold off feisty Underwood, AHSTW, Missouri Valley and Riverside squads at the conference's tournaments on December 20th & 21st in Audubon.

"I'm excited about it," Thompson said, "There's a lot of good teams and a ton of tremendous individuals. You're going to see some weights where the WIC Tournament finals might also be the state tournament finals."

The first that comes to mind when thinking about Logan-Magnolia is likely to be state duals. The Panthers have qualified for the state dual tournament 15 times in the past 18 seasons and finished seventh at the Class 1A State Dual Tournament. This year, the Panthers' have their eyes set on another trip to Des Moines. 

"It's certainly one of our team goals," Thompson said, "There's a lot of work from now until those things."

The Panthers will officially begin their season Thursday when they host a triangular with AHSTW and Woodbine. 

"It's exciting to get out on the mat and compete. That's what these guys have worked all off-season and all year for. It's fun that opportunity is coming real soon," Thompson said. 

The complete interview with Thompson can be heard below.