A short week of ups and downs for the Waconia wrestling resulted in two conferences losses, balanced by a second place finish at a Mora invitational last weekend. The Wildcats are now 7-4 overall, 3-3 in the Wright County Conference.
Competing at Glencoe-Silver Lake on Jan. 3, the Wildcats got a taste of two tough conference opponents in Hutchinson and the host team.
The Panthers defeated the Wildcats in a 42-30 match up. Junior Jacob Steinbauer (132 pounds) was the team’s first winner of the match, picking up his 100th career victory. Steinbauer joins just a handful of WHS grapplers to reach 100 wins, and the achievement “is a big feat for any wrestler,” according to head coach Kelly Wagener. In a fall at 1:12 in the first period, Steinbauer defeated Kyle Polzin and earned the first points for Waconia.
Sophomore Nick Green (145) got the fall on Dalton Kosek at 4:42 in the third period. Seniors Max Bullock (182) and Riley Trnka (220) would both earn falls against their opponents, in the first and second periods, respectively.
Sophomore Mason Hemze (160) won a 2-1 decision, while sophomore Eli Teeselink (285) won a 4-2 decision to give the ‘Cats 30 points on the night.
The Tigers of Hutchinson, who are undefeated in the WCC and have just two losses this season, dominated both opposing squads, taking down Waconia 48-16.
The Wildcats had just four winners against Hutchinson, all of which came down to decisions. Steinbauer (132 pounds) won a 15-3 major decision over Hutchinson’s Luke Pundsack, followed by freshman Owen Hemze (138), who won an 8-2 decision over Logan Sondergaard.
Bullock won a 6-0 decision over Markis Dettman, and Trnka won a 7-3 decision over Jake Filk.
Wagener said he wasn’t sure why the Wildcats were sluggish and flat on Thursday.
“We just were not in tune,” he said. “We just did not wrestle the way we can wrestle.”
At a tournament in Mora on Jan. 5, the Wildcats “saw a totally different team,” Wagener said.
Waconia was able to bounce back from the recent conference defeats and finish third of 10 teams at the tournament. With 168 points, Waconia narrowly beat out Annandale-Maple Lake (166) for third place, also finishing ahead of Aitkin (155), Zimmerman (107), St. Cloud Tech (101), Rush City/Braham (83), Albany (61), and Spectrum (54). St. Francis (180) and Mora (175) claimed the top two spots at the tournament.
The Wildcats brought home 11 placewinners of the 13 weight classes, including two individual champions in Steinbauer and Trnka. Both wrestlers are now three-year champions at Mora. Steinbauer won the tournament on a 4-2 decision over Zimmerman’s Hunter Smith. Trnka defeated St. Francis’ Conan Sandberg in a 6-4 decision for his individual title.
Freshman Josh Reich and Owen Hemze both finished second in their weight classes, losing in the championship matches. Reich lost an 8-2 decision to St. Francis’ Aaron Wilson for second place, while Hemze was pinned in 1:56 by Aitkin’s Brian Wold.
Mason Hemze, after losing to Annandale’s Jordan Hanan, came back to win third place in a 10-7 decision over St. Francis’ Alex Eastman. Bullock also finished third, defeating Annandale’s Spencer Ogden in a 13-2 major decision.
The Wildcats have four wrestlers finish fourth, including Green, who lost a 2-1 decision to St. Cloud Tech’s Cole Schreder. Freshman Jed Waligoski also finished fourth after a 13-3 major decision against Taylor Charles of St. Francis.
In a 7-3 decision, junior Isaac Kluver was fourth to Tyler Reitz of St. Francis, and Waconia junior Zach Buffington lost a 12-8 decision to Bo Blanske, also of St. Francis.
Seventh grader Tyler Wagener (113) made his first tournament podium appearance, finishing sixth after a 5-0 decision awarded fifth place to Annandale’s Nate Carlson.
Wagener said it was good to see that Thursday’s mistakes did not carry into the tournament.
“It was good to see a lot of those guys get good matches,” he said.
The junior varsity Wildcats had nine champions at the same meet.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com