The Mound Westonka White Hawks wrestling squad had four wrestlers compete at the Minnesota State High School League Individual Wrestling State Tournament, which was held March 1 and 2 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Senior Ben Schmalz went 4-1 to claim third place in the 182-pound Class AAA bracket.
“Ben wrestled an awesome tournament and placed high in one of toughest weight classes in the state,” said co-head coach Todd Munsterteiger.
Schmalz won his opening match with a first-period pin over Matt Sloan of White Bear Lake, then assured himself a spot on the podium with a 7-3 decision in the quarterfinals over Jack Casey of Shakopee. Schmalz was defeated by eventual state champion Zach Glazier of Albert Lea in the semifinals, but he bounced back with a 10-4 consolation semifinal victory over Kaden Streed of Willmar. That win placed Schmalz in the third-place match, where he scored a late match takedown to break a 1-1 tie and earn an eventual 3-1 victory over Grant Litke of Little Falls.
Schmalz ended the season with a 50-3 record and 181 career wins—second all-time in Mound Westonka wrestling history. “Ben capped off a great career with an awesome finish,” said assistant coach Eric Rodelius. “He was a great leader for this team and will be sorely missed.”
Junior Ryan Fitz and seniors Felipe Mahmoud and Kris Kurtz also competed at state but were not able notch a win. Fitz lost his first-round match to Luke Chamberlain of Hastings and was eliminated when Chamberlain lost in the quarterfinals. Mahmoud lost 5-0 in the opening round to the eventual state champion, Willie Bastyr of Lakeville South, and then fell in the first round of consolation to Chance Hinrichs of Bemidji. Kurtz had a similar fate, losing a first-round bout to Aron Kukowski of Farmington and then a narrow 5-2 decision to RJ Chakolis of Hopkins.
“The guys wrestled well and have a lot to be proud of,” said co-head coach Josten Coleman. “Fitz got some great experience and is one of the few underclassmen in his weight class, while Felipe and Kris ended great seasons competing hard down here.”
The White Hawks wrestlers will celebrate a highly successful season at their annual banquet at MWHS on Tuesday, March 12. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m.