A lift for the program

New head coach hopes personal experience will help guide LN wrestling team

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A lift for the program

Hannah Johnson, Photography Editor

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A year ago, Jacob Aven was in school, just not this one. He was finishing up at Purdue University, where he graduated in May. In August he started teaching social studies at LN and became the new head wrestling coach.
“I thought it would be crazy being head coach right out of the gate, but one of my high school coaches got the same type of job, a head coach at a big school right out of college. He was able to take that team to state runner-up. Just to know that he could do that straight out of college was cool. It inspired me to do the same thing,” Aven said.
Aven wrestled at Purdue and brings a lot of experience to LN. He was four-time Academic Big 10 and an Academic All-American his senior year. He placed in the Big 10 championships and qualified for the NCAA tournament. Last year he finished in the top 24 in the country.
Junior Anthony Hughes believes that Aven’s experience at a Big 10 school has helped the team improve. He also believes that his experience can benefit them by training them to get to the college level.
“He’s a good coach. He drives us. For wrestlers that want to get to the next level, he can show you how to get there,” Hughes said.
Aven has made changes since becoming head coach. Senior Ethan Butterfield feels as if these changes are helping to make the program stronger.
“He’s done a lot of good things for the program like getting new kids into the room. [The program] is more structured. You kind of know what you are getting into every practice,” Butterfield said.
Senior Charity Wert has been a manager for the team for the past two years. Wert watches the coaches’ techniques every practice and watches how the wrestlers can improve from it.
“He’s more intent on showing them new moves and making sure they understand it. He is pushing them to try,” Wert said.
The wrestlers have a closer bond with a coach fresh out of college wrestling, than with an older, more removed coach.
“He’s not much older than us, and he acts just like us. He understands having to go through high school along with playing sports at the same time,” Butterfield said.
Aven’s young spirit is what bonds him with his wrestlers. The understanding of the younger generation’s mind gives Aven an edge over other coaches.
“I did think it was an advantage to get to see all of the technique and to see people at the highest levels do that. Even some of the best wrestlers I’ve played against do those moves, so that really helped me learn and be a better coach,” Aven said.
Aven learning alongside his wrestlers gives him confidence in his abilities to lead a winning wrestling squad.
“I’m really excited to work with these freshmen to see how far they will go and how far they have come. Hopefully going to get some D1 and college wrestlers in helping them out to where they need to be,” Aven said.