The Mound Westonka White Hawks placed six wrestlers in the Section 5AAA Individual Tournament Feb. 24 and 25 at Mound Westonka High School. Of those six, two will be advancing to the MSHSL State Wrestling Tournament on Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Juniors Ethan Devore and Ben Schmalz will both be making their second consecutive trips to state after winning true second matches and earning runner-up finishes.
Devore won his quarterfinal match with a fall over Tyler Rengel of Maple Grove and then was defeated by eventual champion Bret Wilson of Rogers. Devore stormed back with a 15-0 technical fall over Taavi Larson of Buffalo and a fall over Royce Hogue of Wayzata. Devore then sealed the deal with an exciting 8-6 win over Dylan Hanson of St. Michael-Albertville in the true second match to earn the trip to state.
Schmalz took a different route, winning his quarterfinal match with a fall over Nolan Erickson of Rogers and a 9-1 major decision over Owen Vike of St. Michael Albertville in the semifinal. Schmalz lost his championship match to Riley Habisch of Buffalo but then took care of business in quick fashion with a pin in 1:03 over Jacob Meissner of Osseo in the true second match.
White Hawks junior Kris Kurtz placed third by avenging a loss from earlier in the season with a 10-2 major decision over Josh Anderson of Buffalo. With that win, Kurtz earned a shot to go to state with a true second match but was defeated by Adam Lanners of Osseo.
Also placing for the White Hawks were sophomore Noah Lietzau in sixth place and sophomore Tyler Stevenson and junior Ryan Lezer in fifth place. Others who competed in sections but did not place were eighth-grader Jacob Mass; ninth-graders Owen Rostis, Devon Wilson-Noethe and ninth-grader Patrick Cukla; sophomores Seth Anderson and Ryan Fitz; and juniors Brock Munsterteiger and Jack Dioszeghy.
“Overall we had a good tournament in a tough section,” said head coach Todd Munsterteiger. “We will be bringing everyone back next year, so we got some great experience to build on.”
Schmalz and Devore will compete in the first round of the state tournament on Friday, March 2, at 11 a.m. The tourney continues Friday night and wraps up Saturday, March 3, with the final round beginning at 4 p.m.