BELGRADE -- There’s a new coach for the Belgrade Panthers wrestling team, but it’s a familiar face. Bryce Weatherston, who won three state championships as a Belgrade wrestler, is now the Panthers' new head coach and is looking to bring this program back to its glory days.
“I got re-change the culture," said Weatherston. "I got to get all the kids to buy in to what I’m feeding them. It starts with this group right here.”
His players are more than happy to have him there to coach them on the mat.
“I’m really excited to have him," said sophomore Carter Schmidt. "I don’t think there’s a coach that could have been better to get than Bryce with (Sean Dellwo) leaving ,and he focuses on the details, the small details very well and he gets you to change those and help you fix those and I feel like that’s going to help and make a big difference.”
Schmidt, a sophomore, is coming off a year where he placed second at state, which is impressive, but he’s not satisfied.
“It hurts, but, I mean, it’s not much I can do about it now, just think about what’s coming up and what I can do to change,” said Wright.
Schmidt is hoping the small details that Weatherston can teach him will bring him home a state championship.
“The thing about Carter, he’s a highly motivated individual, whether I’m here or I’m not," Weatherston said. "He’s going to find ways to find success and that’s just the drive in him.”
“He’s a really good friend, but while he’s on the mat, he makes sure that you’re doing it right," said Schmidt. "He’s strict and hard on you while you’re on the mat, but when you get off the mat, we’re really good friends and that’s pretty important.”
Weatherston knows what it takes to be great and he can see that Schmidt has the drive to get to that level.
“He’s eating healthy, he’s lifting weights, he’s showing up to practice before, he’s staying after, he’s following up with extra practices throughout the week, he’s doing everything correct that you need to be doing,” Weatherston said.
But this program is more than Schmidt, and Weatherston is ready to rebuild the program into a winning team.
“That’s something that I’m really trying to focus on, is rebuilding the culture because when I went through here, this was a wrestling-dominated school, from my perspective at least," he said. "This is the sport that everyone wanted to be in, this was a sport that had a lot of success.”