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Turchin returns to lead Raider wrestlers

Photo by Brian Hansel Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale's big Big Colin Turchin is back for his junior season.

Colin Turchin returns for a Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale wrestling club that had several grapplers shine individually last season.

The big heavyweight is ranked sixth by the Guillotine in Class A after putting together a season that saw him win 32 of 43 matches and qualify for state with a runner-up finish in the Section 6A meet.

The Raiders will be looking for new talent to take the places of Jake Braaten and Amos Schmidt. Both standouts joined Turchin at state. Braaten ended his prep career with a 144-62 record. His section victory and trip to St. Paul produced a 30-4 record. Schmidt qualified for his first trip to the state meet after several near misses. Schmidt was second in the section meet and won 35 of his 41 matches. Schmidt, who represented his teams at state in football, wrestling and track and field, finished his mat career with a 108-31 mark.

The Raiders also lost section finishers Justin Kern and Dakota Aeling. Nate Wiese, who wrestled his way to state as a junior, was injured and closed out his mat career with a 55-57 mark.

Turchin is the only BHV wrestler with a winning record back for the Raiders. Head Coach Mike Barthel also has senior Kasey Horn back. Horn was 18-20 last year but placed sixth in the section. Young Dillon Card was only 6-23 as a seventh-grader but placed sixth in the section meet.

Other returners include junior Dylan Koppendrayer (16-21), sophomore Jackie Swenson (15-17), freshman Josh Weekley (5-19) and Andrew Bounds (9-20) and eighth-grader Hayden Truax (12-16).

Other candidates to help Barthel fill the ranks will be seniors Kody Graba and Matt Willis, juniors Dan Houchin and Guelhems Valente, sophomores Dillon Denny, Hunter Truax and Eric Waln, freshmen Dalton Baker, John French, Justin Gordon, Andrew Cihlar, Nick Bennett, Dakota Fink and Austin Helmbrecht, eighth-graders Anthony Kern, Gavin Peteron, Marshall Willis, Albert Boldt and Austin Ortiz and seventh-graders Nick Peterson, Jarrod Hall, Austin Lamb and Ethan Orlando.

The Raiders will be attempting to improve on a 9-16 dual record and a 2-4 Park Region Conference mark.