Seven Bucs are top of the pack
Seven Blue Earth Area Buccaneer wrestlers were named to the Big South Conference All-Conference Team, East Division, last week.
Being honored were Buccaneer grapplers Zach Buseman, Cole Klinkner, Jordan Stelter, Mike Ankeny, Camden Bowers, Jacob Johnson and Martin Granados Jr.
The Buccaneers sported a 22-8 overall record this past season and were tops in the Big South Conference East Division with a perfect 5-0 record.
The Bucs had 10 wrestlers with 20 or more wins this season and three with 30 or more. They also had 12 Section medal winners, four State qualifiers (Buseman, Stelter, Ankeny and Granados) and were also named to the State Academic Gold Team with a 3.65 grade point average for the team.
Here is a look at the seven All-Conference Buccaneers:
The Bucs 120 pound wrestler sported a 29-13 record this season. The sophomore had 44 takedowns, 24 near falls and 11 pins. He scored 138 points for the Bucs, 37 against BSC foes.
“Cole got our ‘most improved varsity wrestler’ award this year,” Buc coach Randy Wirtjes says. “He shows very good technique has a lot of good mat sense.
Wirtjes adds that Klinkner had a breakout year this season, but that he expects him to keep improving each year.
The BEA junior anchored the 126 pound spot for the Bucs and had a 25-17 record. He had 58 take downs, 19 near falls and eight pins. He scored 118 team points, 20 against BSC opponents.
“Camden is a very quick, athletic wrestler,” coach Wirtjes notes. “His quickness is his greatest wrestling tool.”
The coach also says Bowers really enjoys the sport of wrestling and he is looking forward to one more year of having him on the team.
The BEA freshman wrestled at both 132 and 138 pounds during the season. His overall record was 29-15 with 123 team points, 38 in BSC matches.
He had 46 take downs, 22 near falls and nine pins.
“Zach is just a ninth grader but he is very talented and has already been to the State Tournament twice,” Wirtjes says. “He has not even reached his full potential yet, and has big room to keep improving for the next few years.”
Like Bowers, the coach notes that Buseman just really loves this sport of wrestling.
The junior 138 pounder ended with a 22-7 record with 113 team points, 34 against BSC opponents.
He led the Buccaneers in near falls with 35 and also had 40 take downs and 14 pins.
“I think Jordan is the most exciting wrestler I have ever seen,” coach Wirtjes says. “He can score from anywhere on the mat top, bottom or middle. The match is never over for him, even if he is behind.”
The coach notes he was a Section champ this year despite being injured and still has another year to be on the Buccaneer squad.
Ankeny was one of three wrestlers topping the 30 plus win mark, with a season record of 33-10 at his 145-pound weight class.
The senior had 50 take downs, 12 near falls and 19 pins for the Bucs, scoring 176 team points, second on the team this year. He also had 50 BSC points.
“Mike has been a steady performer for us over the years, with 133 career wins,” coach Wirtjes says. “He is a very hard worker and a very good pinner. Mike was a team captain this season and is a quiet leader, leading by example.”
The coach also says Ankeny does whatever is asked of him, whatever the coaches need him to do.
“We are going to miss him a lot next year,” Wirtjes says.
Another BEA senior and another 30-plus record wrestler, Johnson was at 182 pounds and came in with a 34-6 record.
He had 42 take downs, 11 near falls and 15 pins this year. He also tallied 163 team points (third on the team) and 50 in the BSC.
“Jacob had 33 wins this year and never wrestled all that much before,” coach Wirtjes notes. “The big upside to him is that he just keeps getting better and better as the season goes on. He is talented and a very hard worker.”
The coach remembers one match where Johnson worked so hard he defeated a wrestler who then went on to take state runnerup at 182 pounds.
Wirtjes says Johnson was also a team captain this year and was verbal about getting everyone to work hard.
“He really likes to work with the younger kids and help them,” Wirtjes says. “We’re going to miss that.”
Martin Granados Jr.
Granados was also a team captain and a senior on the squad, wrestling at heavyweight, 285 pounds.
He had a 35-6 season record and ended up in fourth in state this season, up from sixth place last year.
He had 41 take downs, four near falls and 22 pins, leading the team in that category. His 22 pins were tops on the team.
He also had the fastest pin during the year, just 10 seconds into the match at Estherville as well as one at 15 seconds and one at 24 seconds.
(Adam Legred and Camden Bowers were tied for second with 11 second pins, and Jordan Stelter and Jacob Johnson each one at 19 seconds.)
Granados also had the most team points, 195, for the Buccaneers, with 47 of them coming against BSC foes.
“What can I say about Martin?” coach Wirtjes asks. “He had 124 wins in his career, placed in state twice and has been on varsity since he was in eighth grade. He was our ‘closer’ and we leaned on him a lot to get us points. We will miss him next year.”
Granados also received the Buccaneer ‘Ironman’ award at the wrestling banquet last week.
“And rightfully so,” coach Wirtjes says. “Martin works so hard, does summer wrestling, camps, always training, working hard to get better and better. He is just an awesome wrestler.”
The coach says the team had a terrific year this season, despite being plagued by several injuries.
“We will lose some really good guys (seniors) but we have some great youngsters on the team, and some more talented kids coming up in the lower grades,” Wirtjes says. “I am already looking forward to next year.”