Young Buc wrestling
There is good news and some not so good news for this season for Blue Earth Area wrestling coach Randy Wirtjes.
The good news? He has plenty of bodies out for wrestling this year.
“We’ve got some big numbers, the most in many years,” Coach Wirtjes says. “And young guys. We have 12 seventh graders and eight eighth graders out this year.”
There are even some upperclassmen who are either back out for wrestling after missing some time, or are out for their first time ever.
The bad news? The team will be fairly inexperienced at several weights. In fact, only three seniors are slated to start in the weight list.
“We will be inexperienced at a few weights and we have some injuries,” Wirtjes explains. “We plan to rotate in and out at a lot of weights.”
The coach says there are a lot of sophomores who are competitive and could step in at any time. Plus, those seventh and eighth graders are young but a few have a lot of wrestling experience already.
Here is a look at all the weight classes. Some of them, Wirtjes admits, are pretty bunched up.
At 106 pounds, Joe Schavey, a sophomore, Koby Nagel, an eighth grader and Max Ehrich, a seventh grader, are all listed as possible.
At 113 pounds eighth grader Caden Ochsendorf and Schavey are both listed.
Sophomore Dalten Nagel is listed at both 120 pounds and 126 pounds. Nagel had a 28-14 record last year.
At 120, freshmen Akeira Morrow and Hunter Bleess, as well as eighth grader Jaxen Klinkner, are all vying for the spot. At 126, senior Adam Legred is listed also. Legred was 23-17 last year.
Senior Camden Bowers takes the slot at 132 pounds, backed up by sophomore Jonah Legred. Bowers was 25-17 last season and is 69-54 in his career.
At 138 pounds, Cole Klinkner, a junior, was 25-17 last year. Sophomore Wyatt Tungland is also listed. He was injured last season.
Senior Jordan Stelter is listed at 145 pounds, backed up by sophomore Rylee McGuire. Stelter sported a 22-7 record last season.
At 152 pounds, Zach Buseman, a sophomore, has the spot. He went 29-15 last year and has a 70-43 career record.
Senior Tannor Wolf will be the 160 pound wrestler for the Bucs this year. He had a 15-15 record last year.
At 170 pounds junior Roger Ziegler gets the nod and at 182 pounds another junior, Jesus Quintero will compete for the Buccaneers again.
Ziegler was 3-33 last year and Quintero was 16-21.
Sophomore Trevor Oppedal will be the Buccaneer 195 pounder this season. He had a record of 3-5 last season.
Junior Jared Armon returns to the squad to take the 220 pound spot. He came in with a 25-16 record last season.
And, at the 285 pound (heavyweight) slot, freshman Damian Chapa will be the Buccaneers’ wrestler.
“So, we have a combination of youth and yet some good experience back,” Wirtjes says. “We have 15 returning letter winners, and some others who are waiting to jump in and help.”
The coach says he expects the Buccaneers to once again be a highly competitive wrestling team.
“In the Big South Conference I expect it will be Jackson County Central, Worthington and Fairmont who will be tough,” he says. “But I expect us to be right in there in the top four.”
The good news is that the section has been realigned and the Bucs are no longer in the same section as perennial powerhouse Jackson County Central. In fact, the Bucs will not face them at all this season.
The bad news is that BEA is now in the same section as Kenyon-Wanamingo, the team that took second in state last year.
The Bucs will start off the season on Friday, Dec. 4, when they travel to Wells to take on their cross-county rivals, the United South Central Rebels.
The very next day they will be competing in their home tournament, the Maher Invitational, on Saturday, Dec. 5.
They will also be at the River Riot in Redwood Falls, the Estherville, Iowa, Duals and, new this year, will be at the Kasson Duals where they will compete against some very tough teams, including that state runnerup squad from Kasson-Mantorville.
And, there is another new deal on the schedule this year.
“On Thursday, Jan. 21, we will be wrestling against the St. Peter Saints,” Coach Wirtjes says. “But it will in Mankato at MSU, right before the (Minnesota State University, Mankato) Mavericks wrestling match that night.”
The coach says it is something they have been talking about doing for the past three or four years and finally got it on the schedule.
Besides head coach Wirtjes, there is assistant coaches Dave Pfaffinger and Tim Blagg and volunteer coaches Jay Frederickson, Ty Sturtz and Steven Wood.
The coaches and wrestlers are all excited for another season of action to start.
And, while they have to find a way to replace last year’s seniors of Mike Ankeny, Luke Schavey, Jacob Johnson and fourth in state heavyweight Martin Granados Jr., they expect to get the job done.
The coach had just a few more words concerning the upcoming season: “we need to stay healthy with no injuries.”