The Waconia wrestling team got a clutch win over Hutchinson Jan. 30, winning 31-30 to defeat the conference foe.
The Wildcats only won six of the 14 matches, but their victories earned them crucial bonus points while their losses kept the Tigers from earning bonus points.
“There are only 14 weights in a dual and with only winning six of the matches, mathematically you don’t usually win those,” said coach Nick Hackman. “The guys fought hard to not give up bonus and the guys who won went for all the points they could.”
The ‘Cats got off to a hot start with wins in four of the first six matches. Alex Torres (106) won by fall in the first period, then Riese White (120) earned a 17-2 technical fall. Bradee Dwinell (126) won by fall in the first period and Alex Riley (138) won by a 3-1 decision.
And while Waconia did not get many wins in the middle weights during the dual, they did not give many bonus points up. In Hutchinson’s eight victories, they only got bonus points twice. Conversely, Waconia picked up bonus points five times in six win. This battle for extra points was crucial down the stretch.
After Max McEnelly earned a 19-4 technical fall win, the Tigers delivered three consecutive wins, but did not get any extra points. And even though Sam McEnelly lost at 220, he did not allow a top-ranked wrestler to pick up any points, giving Bennett Weber a chance to deliver the victory with a fall. The No. 3 ranked heavyweight in Class AAA delivered, pinning his opponent with just 4 seconds left in the first period.
“With the dual on the line, Sam McEnelly had to face a top opponent and not get majored or worse, so Bennett could get a chance to win it at heavyweight,” Hackman said. “That is what both young men did and it is always nice to get a team win against a very talented Hutchinson team.”
Mankato East Cougar Tournament
The Wildcats wrestled at Mankato East on Feb. 1, taking second place among more than a dozen teams, leaving the tournament with four champions.
“The entire team wrestled well Saturday, Including Lincoln Vick who was at a completely different event called the 9th Grade League State Tournament, which he placed sixth,” said Hackman.
Max McEnelly, Sam McEnelly and Weber all placed first in their brackets by going 3-0. Max McEnelly won by fall, then a pair of 5-2 decisions against No. 3 and No. 5 ranked wrestlers. Sam McEnelly won by fall, a 22-7 technical fall and a 6-2 decision. Weber breezed through the tourney with three pins, each coming in the first period.
Waconia’s fourth champion came out of the 106 bracket in which the ‘Cats took the top two spots. Alex Torres won 6-0 to make the championship, then defeated teammate Levi Mueller 10-1 to secure first place. Mueller won by a 12-7 decision and a 4-3 ultimate tiebreaker to place second.
“I love seeing two of our guys face each other in the finals of a tournament,” said Hackman. “Really shows the depth of this team and how bright the future is.”
At 138, Alex Riley placed third with a win by fall, a 1-0 decision and a 10-3 decision. The freshman is the latest Wildcat to break into the top-10 rankings, earning a spot at No. 9 in Class AAA.
“Alex is a freshman wrestler who works extremely hard and has only been wrestling for just over 4 years now,” Hackman said. “Alex has beat some quality opponents and continues to close the gap with the best wrestlers in the state.”
Andrew Torres (113) and White (120) both placed fourth. Andrew Torres had three pins, while White won by fall and an 8-0 major decision.
Dwinell, Gage Mueller (145) and Kyle Tenor (182) all placed fifth. Dwinell won by fall and a 14-2 major decision, Gage Mueller won by a 14-3 major decision and a 4-0 decision, Tenor won twice by fall.
Tanner Martinson placed sixth with an 11-9 victory and a 17-6 major decision. Anthony Vettel (152) also placed sixth with a 7-3 win.
In the middle of a busy 3-day period, Waconia lost a close match on the road. After defeating Hutchinson on Thursday, the ‘Cats fell by five at D-C/Litchfield before turning around and competing again on Saturday.
“Our middle school guys and JV wrestled tough Friday at D-C/Litchfiled and on Saturday,” Hackman said. “Varsity had 3 tough days but handled it well and battled with some of the best wrestlers and teams.”
White won by a 2-0 decision, Josh Wagener won by fall, Riley won by fall, Max McEnelly won by 22-7 technical fall, Sam McEnelly won by an 11-3 major decision and Weber won by fall.
The Wildcats finish the regular season Feb. 7 at Mound Westonka with team sections taking place the following week.