In three days last week, the Waconia wrestling team picked up five team wins. Defeating New Ulm, Litchfield, Dassel-Cokato, St. James, and Canby, head coach Kelly Wagener simply said, “we wrestled awesome.”
And awesome it was, as the Wildcats picked up two conference victories to put them third in the conference. Finishing in the top three was a goal of the team this season.
Waconia 69, New Ulm 0
The train of wins began Jan. 24 when the Wildcats hosted New Ulm, and the results was a 69-0 blowout.
“That score doesn’t reflect on that team,” Wagener said, adding that New Ulm is usually a better team.
Regardless, the Wildcats went out and dominated on a night that honored seniors and Hall of Fame inductees.
In the victory, the Wildcats won every match, including six pins from eighth grader Justin Schultz (fall at 3:56), junior Jacob Steinbauer (1:26), eighth grader Dylan Gluck (2:39), senior Max Bullock (1:39), senior Riley Trnka (1:04), and sophomore Eli Teeselink (5:32).
Major decision victories came from seventh grader Tyler Wagener, freshman Owen Hemze, and sophomore Mason Hemze. Wagener won a 16-5 major over Tanner Stark, while Owen Hemze won 9-0 over Jagger Hoffmann, and Mason Hemze also won 9-0 over Sam Hoppe.
Eighth grader Alex Logelin won a 6-0 decision over Austin Iles. Sophomore Nick Green won a 7-2 decision, while junior Zach Buffington snagged a close 10-8 decision over Lorenzo Hernandez. Freshman Ben Garnatz and eighth grader Rio Duran accepted forfeits for the Wildcats.
Waconia 36, Litchfield 22
At Mound-Westonka the next night, Waconia first faced Litchfield in the first of two duals. Picking up just one win in the first five weights (freshman Josh Reich’s pin at 1:01), the Wildcats were quickly down 15-6. Then Owen Hemze won a 4-2 decision, and Green and Mason Hemze claimed forfeits, Waconia took the lead and never looked back. Sophomore Jed Waligoski won a 7-3 decision over Luis Lepe, before Bullock won a 5-4 decision over Nathan King.
Trnka picked up his 100th career win in a 7-6 decision over Max Kaping. Teeselink won by forfeit to finish the match for Waconia.
“We wrestled probably the best we could wrestle [against Litchfield],” Kelly Wagener said.
Waconia 39, Dassel-Cokato 26
Wagener said the Wildcats matched up well against both Litchfield and Dassel-Cokato, and with many wrestlers battling illness, he was unsure what to expect.
But against Dassel-Cokato, the Wildcats started right with two pins from Schultz (3:19) and Tyler Wagener (4:22). The next three wins for Waconia also came in pins, from Steinbauer (3:13), Owen Hemze (1:05), and Mason Hemze (0:33).
Bullock won by technical fall in a 17-2 match against Aaron Aho, followed later by a 13-3 major decision victory by Trnka over Aaron Aman.
Kelly Wagener said the middle weights are solid, and prove helpful in Waconia team wins.
Waconia 37, St. James 29
Each year, Wagener likes to take the team to Canby, not just for the competition, but for a friendly rivalry that exists between the coaches. This year, Wagener was fortunate enough to come back with two wins over St. James and the host team.
Kicking things off against St. James, the Wildcats fell behind early 13-0, before Logelin won an 11-9 decision over Jose Dominguez. The Wildcats won the next five weights, with wins going to Steinbauer (technical fall at 4:15), Owen Hemze (9-1 major decision), Green (13-0 major decision), Mason Hemze (12-8 decision), and Waligoski (6-4 decision). By then, the Wildcats had claimed a 22-13 lead.
Bullock pinned Ryan Westman at 5:59 at the 182 pound weight class, before Buffington picked up a win, as did Trnka (14-3 major decision).
Wagener said Buffington, who began the year on junior varsity, is picking up pins or major decisions when Wagener thought not, and contributing important points to the varsity squad.
“He’s wrestling really good for us right now,” Wagener said.
Waconia 37, Canby 27
After Canby defeated St. James 33-27, Wagener admitted the team was a little worried.
After Schultz won a 10-7 decision, the Wildcats dropped the next few matches and found themselves down 15-3. But as has become the norm, the middle weights rallied and captured the lead back for Waconia. Steinbauer won a 14-2 major decision, Owen Hemze won a 5-0 decision, Green earned a final second fall at 6:00, and Mason Hemze won a 5-3 decision.
Canby took back the lead by winning at 160 and 170 pounds, before Bullock pinned Michael Peterson at 1:47. Headed into the heavyweight match, the Wildcats held a narrow 31-28 lead.
Teeselink came through for Waconia, pinning Gavin Benz at 0:54 for the victory.
Wagener said the team prides itself on being the best conditioned team around, and said many of the Wildcats’ wins on Saturday came in the final seconds of the match.
“It’s amazing how well these guys are responding,” Wagener said.
The schedule doesn’t ease up for Waconia this week, as they traveled to St. Peter on Jan. 29. They will be on the road against Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran tonight, Jan. 31, before wrapping up the weekend at a Delano tournament against the rest of the conference.
Next week brings a reprieve. The Wildcats don’t wrestled again until Feb. 8.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com