Totaling 206 points, with three champions among 13 Wildcat place winners, the Waconia High School wrestling team placed second at the Henry Sibley invitational on Jan. 19. Cannon Falls took home top honors with 256 points. The host team finished third (170).
Junior Jacob Steinbauer (132 pounds), senior Max Bullock (182), and junior Zach Buffington (195) were all crowned individual champions.
Buffington, who picked up his first ever tournament title, is “wrestling really well right now,” according to head coach Kelly Wagener. For his first place finish, Buffington pinned Spring Lake Park’s Tristan Wehmas at 4:34. He also defeated Henry Sibley’s David Bueno in a technical fall.
After a first round bye, Steinbauer defeated St. Paul Humboldt eighth grader Nick Belmares (fall at 2:32) and Cannon Falls’ junior Connor Rohr (fall at 1:34) for the championship. Bullock defeated both Humboldt’s John Dahl and Burnsville’s Kevin Moruri in first period falls for his title.
Eighth grader Alex Logelin (126 pounds) stepped up for the Wildcats at 126 pounds, finishing second. He defeated Terrel Sann of Henry Sibley in a 14-4 major decision, and Highland Park’s Talief Ticker in a fall at 2:34 to land in the championship round. He lost to Cannon Falls’ Keaton Lopez on a tech fall.
Wagener said Logelin, and wrestlers like him, are consistently vying for varsity positions, and deserve credit for pushing the starters to improve.
Freshman Josh Reich (120 pounds), freshman Owen Hemze (138), sophomore Mason Hemze (152), freshman Jed Waligoski (160), and senior Mitch Green (220) all finished third at the tournament. Reich, competing in his first tournament at the 120 pound weight class, is really helping out the team garner wins in the lower weights, according to Wagener. Reich won an 11-9 decision for third place.
Owen Hemze pinned his opponent at 1:34, while Mason Hemze pinned his at 1:25. Waligoski won a 9-6 decision over Spring Lake Park’s Trese Jackson, and Green pinned Highland Park’s Chris Young at 0:55.
Wagener said Green pushes others in practice.
“He’s the heart and sole of those big guys,” he said.
With many pins during the day, coach Wagener is pleased with the Wildcats’ progress this season.
“We’ve always been a pinning team,” he said. “We’re right there with everybody.”
With six events in the next nine days, Wagener hopes the team can return to full strength late this week. The Wildcats host New Ulm tonight, before competing at Mound-Westonka on Jan. 25 and at Canby Jan. 26. Next week, the team will be on the road again at St. Peter (Jan. 29) and Watertown-Mayer (Jan. 31).
While Hutchinson is heavily favored to win the conference, Wagener said the Wildcats still have a shot at achieving their top three goal.
“Everybody’s kind of beating everybody,” he said. “Hopefully we can make a push at the end.”
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]