The rise of PV boy’s wrestling


Gretchen Highberger

Jack Miller pins Bettendorf’s Tycho Carmichael at Spartans-Bulldogs dual.

Katy Babcock, Copy Editor

For 14 years, senior Jack Miller has participated in wrestling, recently achieving his 100th career win. However, he is not the only wrestler at PV to find success this year. 

Seniors Caden McDermott and Rusty VanWetzinga also achieved the milestone of having over 100 career wins. 

McDermott is ranked first in the state for his weight class. 

Miller has seen the PV boy’s wrestling program come a long way in his four years on the team. “As a team, freshman year, we weren’t even a top 25 team and now we are a team that has a chance to make state duals,” said Miller. PV hasn’t gone to state as a team for duals since they won it in 1997

After a successful 2021-2022 season, the PV boys are ready to make a change. 

Beating cross-town rival Bettendorf High School has propelled the Spartans this season. Prior to last year, the last time PV took down the Bulldogs was in 2004. 

Miller says this is thanks to a close-knit team and great coaching staff. 

Jacob Larsen has been the PV boy’s head wrestling coach for seven years. The rest of the coaching staff consists of Justin Fah, Jamie Fah, Travis Wheelers, Keith Minekey and Matt Miller.

Around fifty students are part of the boy’s wrestling team this season. With such a strong group of seniors graduating this spring, Larsen is preparing the underclassmen to lead the team. “We’re going to need to reload after the seniors graduate. The younger guys will have to step up,” said Larsen. He has also been recruiting potential wrestlers at the PV Junior High for future seasons. 

Starting last season, the team has been meditating before pre-meet practices. Miller says the meditation helps them get in the right headspace to practice hard and compete the next day. 

Aside from recent success and embracing mindfulness, the team has flourished with growing community support. “We’re not just a team, we’re a family,” said Miller. The team is passionate about building relationships with the local community, especially with younger generations. They have received a substantial following in their youth wrestling program for kindergarten through seventh grade. 

Led by three star seniors with over 100 wins, the team is hopeful to make it to state duals for the first time since Larsen has been coaching.