The Manawa Wolves wrestling team got their season under way with a home match against Tri-County on Thursday, Nov. 29. The team then traveled to Antigo on Saturday, Dec. 1 for the John Robbins Duals.
“We knew we would be young this year, but the energy and effort these guys are giving their team right now is extraordinary,” said Scott Hahn, head coach of the Manawa Wolves wrestling team.
Manawa 66, Tri-County 12
Cole Thompson (285) started the night with a pin in one minute, and the youthful Wolves never looked back.
“Cole’s match really put the life in us,” said Coach Dan Kundinger. “It was an excellent start.”
Daryn Claussen (120) recorded his first career win with a fall, and was followed by senior Jacob Frenche. Brad Grimm, Justin Wentworth, Dominic Scheulke, Isaac Newton and Garrett Griffin followed with wins by forfeit.
Manawa closed the night with three straight pins by Branden Lindsay (170), Casey Johnson (195), and Joe Vande Vrede (220). It was the first career wins for Claussen, Wentworth, Schuelke, Newton and Lindsay.
John Robbins Duals in Antigo
The Wolves went 2-3 on the day, but were in every match. They had four undefeated wrestlers on the day: Griffin (152), Lindsay (170), Johnson (195) and Vande Vrede (182).
Manawa also went 7-1 in Junior Varsity. Justin Wentworth and Camden Moser combined for seven wins in their first-ever matches.
“It was important to get everyone mat time. These two have been working very hard on technique and are improving daily. It was awesome to see them get not only matches, but wins the first time they stepped into live action,” said Hahn.
Manawa used a strung-out lineup to fill twelve weigh classes, which helped keep the team’s scores close in all five duals.
“We have some holes that we can fill by bumping people up. It is not ideal, but we did it most of the day and it worked for the most part. These guys are willing to do whatever they need in order to help the team,” said Brad Johnson, Manawa Alumnus and middle school coach.
Menominee Indian 36, Manawa 36
The wolves started the meet with a conference opponent, Menominee Indian. Down 24-0, Schuelke started a rally with a fall in 1:18. After Newton received a forfeit at 152, Manawa reeled off a string of pins starting with Griffin and followed by Lindsay, Vande Vrede and Johnson.
At the end of the dual the teams were tied 36-36. To determine the winning team it comes down to criteria. The match came to least pin time, and Menominee Indian won.
“It was disappointing, but at the same time, proves to us how important it is to go a full six-minute match,” Hahn said.
Manawa 42 Antigo 31
Round two action saw the Wolves defeat the Red Robins of Antigo.
After a double forfeit at 113, Claussen stepped up and gained a win with a pin in 1:29.
The next few matches went to Antigo until once again Schuelke, a freshman, won at 145, making the score 21-12.
Griffin won by fall at 160, and Nick Swenson followed with his first career win by pinning his Red Robin opponent, pulling the Wolves to within three points.
“Nick’s win was huge for us,” said Kundinger. “This win carried us through the rest of the dual.”
Manawa followed with pins by Lindsay and Vande Vrede, followed by a forfeit from Johnson to secure the victory 42-31.
Manawa 36, Ashland 36
Once again the Wolves battled to a tie, and again, the winner came down to the same criteria. This time Manawa had the least pin time and was awarded the victory over the Oredockers, putting them at 2-1 on the day as a team.
“This was awesome to see our guys pulling for each other and getting each other fired up for the match. Fortunately, we won this one on criteria,” said Coach Johnson.
The Wolves received victories from Griffin, Lindsay, Claussen, Vande Vrede, Johnson and a pin from Thompson at heavyweight to tie the dual in the last match.
Coach Hahn reviewed his heavyweight’s performance, “Cole wanted revenge from the Menominee Indian match which also came down to his match. This time he got it done. He was really fired up and came through for his team. We were really proud of him.”
Rosholt 36, Manawa 34
The Wolves faced another conference opponent in round four, falling to the Hornets of Rosholt 36-34.
Down 30-0 after 152, Griffin put the Wolves on the board with a pin in 3:24.
After another loss, Manawa didn’t have enough power to come all the way back. They did win the next four weight classes, but it wasn’t enough to win the dual.
Vande Vrede and Johnson pinned their Hornet opponents, while Thompson picked up a forfeit.
Lindsay won the most exciting match of the dual 17-9.
“This was a back and forth battle until Branden pulled away in the third period. Both guys wrestled hard, but Branden really stepped up in the third,” said Kundinger.
Marathon 45, Manawa 30
The Wolves attempted to finish the day with another win but the Marathon Red Raiders had a different idea. With only five wins in the dual, Manawa was outscored in this match-up. Griffin, Vande Vrede, Lindsay and Johnson all won their final match of the day to cap off a perfect day and gold medal for them.
Frenche was winning 6-2 before finishing off his match.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We moved a lot of guys around all day to try and create better match-ups. These guys stepped up to the challenge, but also know there is more work to do. We will use these matches to improve and learn from. We have many exciting things happening right now in our program and high expectations,” said Hahn about his team’s performance in the tournament.
The Wolves travel to Rosholt on Thursday, Dec. 6 to take on the Hornets. Wrestling starts at 7 p.m.