Meet Edina's Hometown Heroes

Edina is made up of people who pride themselves with making the city a great place for living, learning, raising families and doing business.

Joshua Burhans

April 2016 – Nationwide, wrestling ranks as the sixth most popular sport for high school boys. Last year, nearly 260,000 young athletes competed on about 10,500 teams in communities large and small, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Given those numbers, it may surprise you to learn that until recently, Edina High School did not boast a varsity wrestling team of its own.

“Wrestling in Edina has had to overcome many obstacles,” explained Joshua Burhans, who knows the program’s turbulent history as well as anyone. Indeed, as an area coach and a teacher at Valley View Middle School, he has witnessed the more recent ups and downs firsthand.

“When our wrestling program faded in the late 1990s, Edina established a co-op with Richfield High School.” This partnership in turn dissolved in 2005, leaving students with no easy extracurricular wrestling option. Burhans worked with Eric Herrmann, his coaching counterpart in Richfield, to marshal grassroots support and reestablish the so-called “Richfield-Edina Rampage” for the 2010 season. 

This rebirth proved so successful that just four years later, both cities had the numbers to sustain their own separate programs again. Edina athletes can now compete proudly as Hornets once more.

Burhans’ role as the architect behind this turnaround came as no surprise to those who know his passion for the sport. He started wrestling in the first grade and kept with it all through middle school, capping off a satisfying student-athlete career with the Farmington High School team.

His coaching career to date is equally long and impressive. Burhans already has 12 seasons under his belt, including six as assistant and six as head coach. He points to the former as an important formative period for him. “During my time as an assistant, I had the opportunity to work under five different head coaches. I grew tremendously … taking a little bit of each with me.”

This experience serves Burhans well in his present role, which is as varied as it is exciting and rewarding. Officially, the high school wrestling season begins in mid-November and ends in March. Burhans leads his team through regular Monday-through-Friday practices, plus nearly 20 meets and tournaments each year.

“Every day, I am looking for ways to reach the athletes and motivate them to get better. We discuss the importance of improving, meeting individual and team goals – and trying to eliminate some of the pressures associated with winning and losing.”

Growth opportunities extend beyond the season proper. Burhans is a big proponent of a mixed off-season training regimen. In addition to drills and practice matches, Edina wrestlers hone their skills with weight training, agility exercises and even jujitsu.

Above all else, “establishing and improving our lower-level programs has become the focus this off-season. That is how we will become a sustainable and competitive program for years to come,” Burhans said. These feeder programs include a youth division (pre-K to 5th) and a middle school program (6th-8th).

Burhans is, rightfully, tremendously proud of all three groups. “The future of Edina wrestling looks bright! We are continuing to grow numbers at all levels, and are excited about the directions we are heading.”

31 of 64  Heroes

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