The Waconia youth wrestling team ended their season April 5-7 at the NYWA State Tournament with an impressive run to the championship. Waconia went into the state tournament undefeated at 18-0 with wins at Rosemount, Hutchinson, Hutchinson (K-3), Canby, and Region 3. The 32-team tournament started with four eight-man brackets with each team moving to the second day wrestling the other three brackets with similar placing. Waconia was given the No. 3 overall seed, which put them as the top seed in the ‘C’ bracket. They wrestled Deer River (winning 61-15), Willmar (63-12), and Dover-Eyota (43-28), advancing to the championship bracket on Sunday. The standout team wrestler for the first day was Cade Mueller, defeating opponents from Willmar and Dover-Eyota, who took second and third in the individual competition.
“The boys wrestled extremely well on Saturday, they stayed focused in the bracket finals even when we started in a little bit behind,” said head coach Bob Green.
On Sunday, the championship pool (the four bracket winners) pitted Waconia against a familiar foe in Hutchinson, but Waconia started strong and never looked back with a 40-20 win to advance to the championship.
“The first few weight classes are so important, so when Maverick, Lincoln and Sam are on, it energizes the entire team,” Green said.
In the finals they would meet six-time defending team champion Kasson-Mantorville. Waconia suffered their first lose 11-49, to take second place and finish 22-1 on the year.
“[Kasson-Mantorville has] an incredible youth program, they got on a roll and we never were able to get our feet beneath us to mount a comeback,” stated Coach Green.
In individual competition, Max McEnelly took second, Lincoln Vick was fourth, Joshua Green finished fifth, Cade Mueller was fifth, and Tim Stapleton finished sixth. Other state participants were Drew Vacek, Tyson Peitz, Sam McEnelly, Brandon Wagener, and Mitch Garnatz.
“The boys wrestled well, you have to be on your game every moment because the level of competition is so high,” Green said.
On April 19th, Waconia Youth Wrestling had its end of the year banquet, recognizing many kids, parents and coaches for different contributions throughout the year. The team had many great stories throughout the year, some wrestling related and others personal. Kids who were first-year wrestlers that stayed the entire session, like Charlie Stevensen, Jackson Green, Nick Hayes, Tate Wischnack, Gavin Vos and Wyatt Boberg.
“It’s a huge accomplishment to endure the long season, physically and mentally, our wrestlers are the most well rounded athletes in Waconia,” Green said.
The team had great sixth grade captains in Mitch Garnatz, Tyson Peitz, Jim Burroughs, Cade Mueller, and Will Burroughs. The other sixth graders were Nick Rogers, Maxx Stanton, Jackson Boberg, Nathan Hasse and Jesse Duran. The youth program will miss all the sixth graders next year, and wish them good luck on the next level.
Also a special thanks to the coaches, especially Joel Garnatz and Tim Peitz for their years of service guiding our kids to be better wrestlers and young men.