The Mound Westonka White Hawks wrestling squad opened the season with a runner-up finish at the Fridley Invitational on Dec. 1. Delano won the tournament, but the White Hawks finished second place overall, with host Fridley a distant third.
“I thought our guys wrestled extremely well this weekend,” said co-head coach Josten Coleman. “We had wrestlers grind out tough matches, revenge losses and keep positive mindsets going into each match.”
“It was also exciting to see our guys push the pace and put emphasis on scoring bonus points each match,” Coleman added. “We knew that bonus points would boost our chances of placing in the top two teams in this tournament.”
The White Hawks placed 10 of 12 wrestlers and, with seven wins in the championship round, secured a second-place finish.
“We have a very strong line-up this year, and it showed, with seven kids placing in the top three and five finalists,” said co-head coach Todd Munsterteiger. “I was happy with our finish and how we fared in our first competition.”
Placing for the White Hawks were: senior Jack Dioszeghy, sixth place; ninth-grader Jacob Maas, fifth place; junior Tyler Stevenson, senior Ben Bernal and junior Felipe Mahmoud, third place; junior Noah Lietzau and seniors Brock Munsterteiger and Kris Kurtz, second place; and champions junior Ryan Fitz and senior Ben Schmalz. Schmalz won his third Fridley Invite in a row and dominated in the championship with a 23-8 technical fall in the finals. Schmalz also won the Joe Frank Fastest Fall Award with a first-round pin of 17 seconds.
Winning championships on the JV side were seniors Sam Kerr and Ryan Lezer, junior Charlie Nesbitt and sophomores Shawn McNatt, Lance Munsterteiger, Michael Nolen and Patrick Cukla.
“We absolutely dominated in the JV tourney, which shows what great depth we have as a team,” said assistant coach Eric Rodelius.
The grades 7-9 wrestlers also saw their first action of the season, traveling to Litchfield for a Friday night tournament on Nov. 30. The White Hawks brought 11 wrestlers and came home with two champions, as eighth-grader Sam Dioszeghy and freshman Dylan Pitts were undefeated.
“Almost everyone won a match, and we battled well,” said assistant coach John Wardlow.
The White Hawks will have a similar weekend of wrestling coming up, with the varsity squad heading to Brainerd for the Paul Bunyan Invite and the seventh- through ninth-graders traveling to Dassel-Cokato on Friday. The remaining JV wrestlers will compete at the Delano Invite on Saturday.