Ready to hit the mat
Just how good will the Blue Earth Area wrestling team be these year?
Coach Randy Wirtjes says that just like every year, it depends on who steps up and fills in, and whether there are injuries or not.
“We should be competitive,” Wirtjes says. “We are very balanced through the lower and middle weights, but we need some experience in the top weights.”
There is no denying the Buccaneers lost some power to graduation last year.
Gone are Joe Schavey, Zach Buseman and Trevor Oppedal, all of whom were Section Champs and went to State last year. Gone too are Jordan Huse, Rylee McGuire and Damian Cornelio.
But, the Bucs have 15 returning varsity letter winners, and Wirtjes says the team will build around that strong nucleus.
Those returning varsity wrestlers include: seniors Dominic Whitlow, Akeira Morrow and Erik Anderson; juniors Koby Nagel, Jaxen Klinkner, Jacob Beeler, Caleb Beeler, Davis Sunken and Efrain Trujillo; sophomores Max Ehrich, Cole Warmka, Ty Peterson and Riley Anderson; freshmen Adam Schavy and Nick Lawrence.
Other Buc wrestlers this season are: junior Adam Griffin; sophomores Ian Cornelio, Luke Miller, Luke Mertens, Logan Johnson, Nick Frank and Jimmy Allis; freshmen Kean Hicks, Brody Anderson and Kale Frank; eighth graders Dominic Morrow, Nick Nelson Cale Borris, Angel Martinez, Carson Sturtz, Parker Meyers, Zach Christensen, Gordy Bruellman and Cezar Vega; seventh graders Ben Anderson, Kade Gayden, Caleb Langager, Ethan Oppedal and Cooper Peterson.
“We have some very competitive weights in some cases,” coach Wirtjes says. “So we have a lot of juniors, sophomores and freshman vying for a spot at several varsity weights.”
That is quite true for 106 pounds, for instance, with no less than seven wrestlers vying for the top spot.
Eighth grader Carson Sturtz is the favorite for the position, but fellow eighth graders Cale Borris, Dominic Morrow and Gordy Bruelmann, as well as seventh graders Caleb Langager, Ethan Oppedal and Cooper Peterson are also in contention at that weight.
At 113 pounds, Ty Peterson, a sophomore, will be the starter.
Junior Davis Sunken, who sports a 55-13 career record and was third in the Section last year, is at 120 pounds.
At 126 pounds, junior Caleb Beeler (28-17 last year) is the pick. He was fourth in Section.
Junior Jacob Beeler, and eighth graders Nick Nelson and Parker Meyers are all in a contest for the 132 pound slot, which Wirtjes calls a “very competitive weight.”
Jaxon Klinkner, another junior, is at 138 pounds. He was 28-19 last year and has a 43-44 career record, and was fourth in Section.
At 145 pounds Max Ehrich, a sophomore, is slotted in. He was 25-8 last season with a 55-28 career record and he was third in Section last year.
Junior Koby Nagel and sophomore Riley Anderson are fighting for the 152 pound spot. Nagel has the edge, was 23-13 last year, 39-33 overall and third in the Section.
The 160 pound weight class is also very competitive, with sophomores Nick Frank and Luke Miller and freshman Kean Hicks all in contention. Frank was injured last year but is looking strong this season, Wirtjes says.
At 170 pounds, both sophomore Logan Johnson and senior Akeira Morrow are listed. Morrow was 19-24 last year and has not made weight for the spot yet, but is expected to. Johnson was injured last year but is looking strong this year.
Senior Dominic Whitlow is the listed 182-pounder for the Bucs. He was 17-13 last year and took third in Section.
Senior Erik Anderson is favored for the 195 pound slot, but sophomore Jimmy Allis is also in contention.
At 220 pounds it is freshman Nick Lawrence and at 285, Ian Cornelio, a sophomore, will be the Bucs heavyweight.
Other wrestlers who will compete for spots and could have a shot at a position are freshman Adam Schavey and two sophomores, Luke Mertens and Cole Warmka.
The Buccaneers will already have a lot of wrestling time under their belts by the time this edition of the Faribault County Register comes out. Details will be next week.
BEA hosted the United South Central Rebels last Friday, Nov. 30. On Saturday, Dec. 1, they hosted the Maher Invitational Meet.
This week the Bucs take on Maple River and Lake Mills, Iowa, on Friday.
Coach Wirtjes says he expects Fairmont/Martin County West to be the favorite in the Big South Conference.
As far as the Section goes, he says last year’s champs, Kenyon-Wanamingo is the obvious choice as the team favored to win.
Last year, the Buccaneers lost 43-23 to K-M for the Section title and chance to go to State. Wirtjes and the team would like another crack at that opportunity again, with different results.