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2010 WSC Wrestling Banquet

 

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At the end of the Wayne State Wrestling Club’s first season last year, Coach Greg Vander Weil noted that year two would be bigger and better, as the club became affiliated with the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA). Not only were the wrestlers fortunate to start their first meet at home, but also to finish strong with a trip to the NCWA national tournament in Hampton, Va.

 

“It was great to get on the mat. I missed it,” Brian Pflanz said after the Winona State Invite, his first meet at the collegiate level.

 

The team celebrated its success with a year-end banquet in May. Parents, supporters and Wayne State Wrestling alumni – Craig Hellwege (’76), Jim Meyer (’75), Mike Riedmann (’76), Paul Sok (’77) and Ron Tope (’67) – were present to share in the team’s honors.

 

Tope was Wayne State’s first All-American, and Riedmann was the last Wayne State wrestler to receive All-American honors before the sport was dropped.

 

While each athlete had a number of personal high points, the ultimate triumph was a fourth-place team finish in the North Central Conference tournament and five wrestlers - Matt Bates, Cory Devine (wildcard), Jon Mullen, Matt Peter and Tanner Thiem - qualifying for nationals.

 

Bates finished even, 2-2, and earned a top 10 spot in the NCWA. He was one win away from earning All-American status. Peter and Thiem went 1-2, and Devine and Mullen each went 0-2.

 

“You’d think we’ve reached the top, but we haven’t,” Vander Weil said. “The overall performance of the athletes was outstanding.”

 

Next year the schedule will improve, and the numbers will increase, Vander Weil predicts.

 

“I think as we grow into this association, we’ll become a very competitive program in the NCWA,” he said.

 

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Many Wrestling Club supporters who attended Wayne State were present at the banquet: (l to r) Paul Sok (’77), Winside Wrestling Coach; Jerry Mundil; Mike Riedmann (‘76), Wayne State’s last All-American; Craig Hellwege (‘76), Huskerland; and Jim Meyer (’75) Ft. Calhoun Wrestling Head Coach. Not pictured: Ron Tope(’67), Wayne State’s first All-American, 1964.

 

photo Mike Denney, UNO Maverick Wrestling Head Coach, was the keynote speaker for the banquet. Wrestlers, parents, club supporters and wrestling alumni attended the event.
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Mike Denney uses Wildcat wrestler Alan Gonsor as an example during his talk.

photo For their continued support of the program, Len Dickinson and Jule Goeller receive a certificate from Coach Greg Vander Weil.
photo All the wrestlers had a surprise final weigh-in at the banquet. Trent Brichacek steps onto the scale as former Assistant Coach Sean Smalley takes down the number.

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Alan Gonsor gets a hug after presenting Coach Greg Vander Weil with an award for his efforts to renew the program.

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