Rob Ullyott and Detroit Lakes Wrestling
By Brian Jerzak
When the Detroit Lakes Lakers' wrestling team won back-to-back section championships during the 2003-04 and the 2004-05 season, it was the first and second time in program history to win a section championship. Detroit Lakes had been wrestling – outside of a three-year period where they disbanded the program – since the '50s. Before head coach Rob Ullyott took the head job, the Lakers had only had one dual season in which they finished over the .500 mark. After taking the head job in 1996, the program has had only one losing season. Last season, the Lakers made it back to State for the third time. In between, the Lakers were forced to endure several near misses.
"We were there in 2004 and 2005; those were the first years we had been there," head coach Rob Ullyott said. "We had been in the section finals a number of years, but we weren't good enough to win. A lot of years, it was Perham, of course."
"We were in the section finals the past five years," Ullyott said about the Lakers' most recent run to State. "We had been in the hunt. We were young and had a really good team two years ago. Perham was just so good that year, but we knew we had an opportunity last year. Our weight classes filled in nicely and had most of our kids back. Then we had a terrible football injury. Isaiah Thompson was a two-time state champ, and he missed the season. We didn't know what to expect going into the season. He is a great kid and a leader – how was the team going to adjust? They just picked up and went. Nobody dwelled on it. They worked hard all year and had a great year."
One of the many reasons the program was able to overcome such a devastating start and still make it to State and to place third was because the program has laid a solid foundation where results are significant, but not the most important.