Some important strides forward as a program were made this year by the Pella High wrestling team, and while the Little Dutch have a lot to look forward to in terms of returning varsity wrestlers next season, they also have a lot to be appreciative of. Three seniors helped lead this year’s squad, starting with 138-pounder Zakk Belloma.
“He won the last match of his career at Districts for fifth place, and it was just really fun to see him get that last win and wrestle a flawless match,” said Pella High wrestling coach Joe Burch. “He’s been great to have in the [wrestling] room for leadership and encouraging the underclassmen. His wrestling knowledge has greatly improved since his wrestling career, and he’s grown a lot as a man and as a wrestler, so it’s been really great to have him for the last four years.”
Also departing are a pair of two-year wrestlers for Pella High – 160-pounder T.J. Melhus and Austin La Follette at 145 pounds.
“T.J. was only out for two years, [and] I wish I had him for all four – he was also a great leader and improved so much. He actually lost a lot of weight – he started last year at 215, and finished this year at 160 [pounds]. That was great for him physically, and I know it’s helped him a lot in soccer as well. It was just a lot of fun working with him,” added Burch.
“Austin La Follette was our last senior, who came out freshman year, and then took a couple years off. I’m really glad he came back and finished the year on varsity. He even went up a weight class, and it was really nice to have him out this year.”
The Little Dutch notched three dual victories this past season, a marked improvement from previous years. Burch adds that he is hopeful the program can continue to move forward and is looking forward to additional successes next season.