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WDC wrestlers have section title in their sights

Photo by Brian Hansel Returning letterman Jacob Wegscheid is one of three Wadena-Deer Creek wrestlers who qualified for the Class A state wrestling tournament last season.

The potential is there for Norman Gallant's Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines to claim a Section 6A wrestling title this season if the cards fall just right.

Coming off an 8-9 season, the Wolverines are widely regarded as a serious challenger to Border West's claim on the section crown. The Buccaneers have another powerhouse of their own so a team trip to St. Paul in March could come down to a showdown in February.

Keeping everyone healthy will be the key for WDC according to Gallant.

"Our biggest issue is going to be health," Gallant said. "We have a lot of guys coming back but we don't have any depth."

What the Wolverines do have is 14 returning wrestlers, three of whom made it to the state last year for the first time. Seniors Jordan Rentz and Jacob Wegscheid and junior Mitch Steffens were all runner-up finishers in the weight classes at the Section 6A meet in New York Mills. Seniors Derrick Rude, Zach Bernu and Isaac Lustila along with sophomores Tony Reurink and Sam Waln placed in the Top Six at the section meet.

Jared Wegscheid returns for his senior year. Wegscheid was 17-7 when a hand injury cost him a chance in the section.

Gallant must replace two strong wrestlers in the upper weights -- Tyler Wohlwend and Aaron Uselman. Wohlwend was 13-13 and placed third in the section. Uselman was 20-17 and placed fourth in the section.

Gallant would like to have the services of Nolan Johnson at 171 but the senior grappler suffered a knee injury playing football and may not be able to compete.

WDC Wrestling Sketches

Jared Wegscheid, Senior (17-7, 56 career pins). Jared has been a varsity starter since seventh grade. Last season he achieved his 100th win, but suffered a broken hand and had to miss the last half of the season. Jared will wrestle at 140.

Jacob Wegscheid, Senior (21-14 last season, 69 career wins). Section 6A runner-up, state entrant. Jacob has been a varsity starter since eighth grade. Last season he turned a big corner and qualified for the state tournament. Jacob will compete at 145.

Jordan Rentz, Senior (22-12, 16 pins). Section 6A runner-up and state entrant last season. Jordan has been a starter since eighth grade. Jordan is an excellent leader with a tremendous work ethic. He is very tough on the mat, from both the top and the bottom position. He is relentless is working for falls. He will compete at 135.

Mitch Steffens, Junior (31-7, 21 pins). Section 6A runner-up and state entrant last year. Finished sixth in the Sophomore Nationals in Virginia last spring. Starter since eighth grade. Mitch is one of the most intense, relentless wrestlers we have had in our room for a very long time. Mitch will wrestle at either 112 or 119. He is currently ranked sixth in the Class 2A state poll at 119.

Derrick Rude, Senior (18-14, 8 pins). Fourth in Section 6A last season. Derrick is a quick moving thrower who can score at any time. As a sophomore, he wrestled to the true second match in the section. He will compete at 152.

Isaac Lustila, Senior (18-15, 13 pins). Fifth in Section 6A last season. Isaac had a great second half of 2009-2010. Isaac is a very unorthodox, but effective wrestler.

Zack Bernu, Senior (14-20, 12 pins). Sixth in Section 6A last year. Zack has a tremendous cradle that makes him a threat any time he gets in the top position. He will wrestle at 125 and 130.

Tony Reurink, Sophomore (11-13, 6 pins). Finished 4th in the sections at 215 last season. Tony is the most dedicated wrestler on our team. In addition to competing for the Wolverines, Tony also competes at the state and national levels in Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling. Tony should be a great stopper for WDC at 215 and heavyweight.

Sam Waln, Sophomore (11-14, 6 pins). Fifth in Section 6A. Sam was a small 103 pounder last season, but this year, he will be a full sized 103. He is very quick and does a nice job of controlling his opponents when he is in the top position.

Josh Lawson, Sophomore (7-12, 4 pins). Josh has an outstanding cradle and will look to improve on an up and down year last season. Josh will be a key contributor at 112 and 119.

Jacob Ludovissie, Junior (8-24, 3 pins). Jacob has wrestled all over the line-up over the past two seasons. He has typically been undersized for his weight class, but this season will compete at his actual weight.

Dylan Anderson, Senior (7-11, 4 pins). Dylan has bided his time and now has the opportunity to be the Wolverine closer at heavyweight. He is a tall, athletic heavyweight who will rely on quickness and strength at the heavyweight position.

Devin Barthel, Freshman (3-6, 2 pins). Devin is a very tough wrestler who will contribute to the line-up this season at 112 and 119. He wrestled all the way up to 130 last year.

Other Varsity Candidates: Senior, Marc Rohr 125-130, Junior Mason Lohmiller 189-215, Eighth Graders Tristin Godel 103, Isaac Malone 145-152, David Wegscheid 152-160, Seventh Graders, Sam Erckenbrack, Derrek Garcia, Tim Gough, Jake Waln,Cory Hutig

Team Forecast: The Wolverines return a great deal of experience. Depth is an issue. The strength of the team will definitely be the middle weights with a nice run of Rentz, Wegscheid, Wegscheid and Rude from 135 to 152. Lustila and Reurink are proven commodities in the big weights and Steffens will be one of the toughest in the state in the low weights, and Bernu should add quite a few pins at 125 or 130. If the Wolverines can stay healthy and less experienced wrestlers can pick up where they ended up last year, the Wolverines will contend for a Mid-State and Section 6A title.

Conference Forecast: Staples-Motley had to be the favorite as they return a nice team from last year. Detroit Lakes also has an very nice team coming in to the season.

Section Forecast. Border West is the favorite, they have ranked wrestlers from 103 to 130 and have been to the state meet the past two teams. Otter Tail Central returns a host wrestlers from a pretty decent team last season. New York Mills is always competitive and will be there at the end of the year. BHV should have some very nice individuals.

--Norm Gallant