Final stats show 30-match winner, six with 20 wins
The final stats for the 2007-08 Blue Earth Area wrestling team have been tallied and if they are any indication, a bright future is in store for Buc wrest-ling fans.
The team finished the season with one 30-match winner, who also qualified for the individual State Meet. Six grapplers reached the 20-win plateau and five of them will be returning next year.
Next year’s team will have 18 returning letterman. Of this year’s 10 medalists in the Section 2 Class A individual tournament, nine return for another season.
The team compiled a 12-11 record after going 2-6 in their first eight meets. In the conference, their record was 3-2.
The Bucs will lose only two seniors from this year’s team.
Gabe Sturtz, who wrestled at heavyweight and 215 pounds, saw most of his action on B-squad, where he finished 8-0. When he did wrestle on varsity, Sturtz won his four matches.
Mark Bartley posted a 26-14 record in his final year, while leading the team with 17 falls. Highlights for the 130-pounder were a first-place at the South Central Conference Meet and being tied for the team lead in near falls with 26. His 77 takedowns for the season was second best on the team and his 131 team points was third overall.
Junior heavyweight Jake Lee recorded the most wins on the season with 32. The Buc junior finished with a 32-8 mark. He finished second in the conference meet and his second-place showing at sections qualified him for the State Meet.
Lee led the squad with 153 team points and was second in pins with 15. Sophomore Dan Eckhardt’s season record of 28-9 put the 145-pounder at more than 60 career wins. He took home the bronze medal at both the conference and section meet.
Eckhardt finished third on the team with 64 takedown’s, had 12 pins and recorded the quickest pin of the year in eight seconds.
Freshman Joe Franta was three wins shy of the 30-win mark. The 119-pounder had 27 wins to go along with 12 losses. He lead the team with 78 takedowns, was third with 14 pins and his 146 team points was second on the squad. In the conference meet he was second and fourth at sections.
Junior Mat Willner at 215 pounds was 25-11. He was third in near falls with 24, tied for third in pins with 14 and his 61 takedowns was good enough to put him fourth best on the team. Willner placed second in the conference meet and was fourth in the section tournament.
The bottom of the lineup was anchored by two underclassmen with more than 20 wins.
Freshmen Jake Wirtjes was 22-17 at 103 pounds. He took third in the conference meet and was sixth at sections. He also registered the second quickest fall in 20 seconds and was tied for first with 26 near falls.
D.J. Gronewald compiled a 21-19 record at 112 pounds. The Buc sophomore had 12 pins among his victories. He posted the third quickest fall in 23 seconds, was runnerup in the conference meet and fifth at sections.
Sophomore Cody Eckhardt finished with a 19-19 record. He was fourth on the team with 18 near falls and placed fourth in the conference and fifth in the section tournament.