On the brink of a historic season, the Minot State women’s wrestling team has already hit the mats for an intrasquad dual, but will be making their way to Grand Junction, Colo., to participate in the Maverick Open for the first women’s wrestling regular season meet in school history on Saturday.
Beavers head coach Brittney Mitchem has held the position for quite some time and has finally reached the point where she will soon see all of her and the team’s hard work pay off when the regular season gets underway. Leading up to this point, Mitchem put a lot of time in recruiting athletes and helping build the foundation for the program.
“I was probably making 75-100 recruiting calls each week and just getting our name out there, as well as the opportunity out there. A lot of people didn’t know we had a program starting up in Minot,” Mitchem tells The Minot Daily News.
Getting the team’s name out there was a struggle early on for Mitchem, however, she said that being able to show people what MSU has to offer, paired with the educational aspect and athletic facilities, people started to become attracted to the opportunity.
It wasn’t everyone that was attracted to the opportunity, however, as Mitchem said that some athletes were interested in finding a more competitive opportunity elsewhere instead of being a part of something brand-new. The talent that Mitchem was able to land, she feels very fortunate to have.
“I’m lucky to have the talent that I do and that really came down to telling them that they can be the face of this program, they can be the first name on the All-American board. A lot of people believe in that, and it comes down to our coaching staff being able to get them where they need to be,” she said.
Filling out the inaugural roster are 13 athletes coming from six states and one athlete from Canada. Among those 13 are four local athletes in Angelina Garcia from Williston, Carolyn Goebel and Shelby Zachmeier from Mandan, and Brooke Leedahl from Kindred who get to stay close to home and be a part of something special.
While the talent level is in a great position in the infancy stages of the program, another struggle of the team that Mitchem shared was the fact that they are all freshmen together. This, however, is something that will be of benefit to the program eventually.
Mitchem said that the girls will be adjusting and learning new things at the same time, but the positive is that they are in it together and in the same boat. The development in leadership skills with the inaugural class will impact new athletes coming in and be impactful for years down the line.
Regarding what the athletes can expect from Mitchem throughout their time at Minot State, she shared the goal of building a strong relationship through communication and respect.
“I’ll be communicating effectively with the athletes. I’m huge on respect and accountability. I want to expose them to different types of wrestling while creating a competitive environment, and of course, having fun. It’s all about encouragement because at the end of the day, we are growing this sport as a whole,” Mitchem said.
Following two road meets, the Beavers women’s wrestling team will host Chardon State College for their first ever home meet on Friday, Nov. 18 at the MSU Dome at 5 p.m. For Mitchem and the team, they are excited for this chapter and ready to grow together.
“I’m excited to learn and grow. I have an individual role with every member on the team. As long as we are doing our job together, then nothing else matters.”