A man who has given a lot of time and effort to the program has reached a decision, and it spells a change for Merrill High School sports.
The state tournament finals now represents the last Merrill varsity high school match with Bluejay wrestling coach Scott Arneson at the helm
Arneson, who has been inducted in the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, recently completed his 27th year of coaching high school and his 17th year as Merrill’s head mentor. He coached right up to the end of the season as his son, Scott, and Mason Reinhardt both reached the final day of the state tournament.
“Other guys in the program are probably itching to coach,” Arneson said. “Roger Wendorf did the same thing for me. He stepped down before he had to or really wanted to.
“My son graduated so it’s a good stopping point. I kind of had it in my mind for the last two years of stopping after my son was done and it didn’t change.”
Not only does Arneson think the Merrill program is headed in a solid direction with a strong cast of assistants, but he will continue to build the off-season skills of area kids.
“I think I’m leaving with some energy to coach, so that’s a good sign,” he said. “I’m definitely not burned out. I’ll still coach the Northern Exposure freestyle and Greco (-Roman) and do national coaching (for Team Wisconsin), too. I got into coaching to give back something to wrestling, and I plan to keep it up as long as I can. I’m not getting totally out of wrestling. Some people ask why I’m getting out of it because I’m so young, but I’ll be 50 this summer.
“I’ve always coached all the way through summer, with nationals, so there haven’t been any breaks in the summer. Plus I’ve always coached all my kids with wrestling, soccer and volleyball and that will continue. My (youngest) daughter) is a fourth-grader now.”