In Wright County Conference action last week, the Hutchinson Tigers wrestling team topped the Waconia Wildcats 45-17.
WHS head coach Kelly Wagener said the score didn’t truly reflect how well the match went for WHS, as there were four matches that were close and could have gone to either team.
Waconia picked up four wins from Justin Schultz, Jacob Steinbauer, Owen Hemze, and Nick Green. Schultz got things started for WHS at 120 pounds, topping Hutchinson in a 14-1 major decision.
Steinbauer and Hemze both earned tech falls in the third period of their matches, Steinbauer at 5:30 and Hemze at 4:26. Green bested the state’s No. 5 wrestler Chris Schmidt in a 4-3 decision.
Other Waconia matches were very close, according to Wagener. Heavyweight Eli Teeselink wrestled the No. 6 wrestler in the state and went into overtime, losing a close 6-4 match. Jayden Vanderhoff, at 106 pounds, lost by just two points and continues to improve.
“He’s probably one of my most improved kids this year,” Wagener said, citing Vanderhoff’s ability to switch between 106 and 113 pounds, wherever the Wildcats need him most. “He’s been doing a good job.”
In the middle weights, Jed Waligoski and Isaac Kluver both lost close matches as well, as the team’s conditioning once again showed itself.
“We continued to win, and stay in, matches on our conditioning,” Wagener said. “We take them all six minutes because when you’re tired, somebody will make a mistake.”
Wins and losses don’t make or break the season for Waconia, Wagener said, and explained that all the work and matches during the year are going towards the conference tournament, as well as team and individual section tournaments at the end of the season.
“We have a lot of opportunities,” he said. “As coaches, we’ve got to do what we can to get them there… we’ve got some tough matches coming up, and we’re excited.”
Over the weekend, the Waconia ninth grade wrestling team finished second in the region, qualifying for state. At state, they finished 2-2, which says a lot about the program, which feeds directly into the varsity level, according to Wagener.
Waconia is now 8-6 this season and is 3-3 in the Wright County Conference. The Wildcats match against Glencoe-Silver Lake Thursday evening was postponed due to the Panthers’ district not in session that day. The Panthers traveled to Norwood Young America on Tuesday, Jan. 21 to face the Wildcats.
This week, the Wildcats are at Litchfield tonight, and will host Canby and Chanhassen on Saturday, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Wright County Conference Championships are Jan. 31 at New London-Spicer. The next home match for Waconia is Thursday, Feb. 6 when the Wildcats host Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran and will also have a “Take Down Cancer” night, which will feature youth wrestlers from both teams beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by the junior varsity, and varsity wrestlers slated to begin around 7 p.m.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]