Waconia tops New Ulm

By Jake Calhoun

Journal Sports Writer

NEW ULM – Nate Berg had never wrestled until this season.

Berg, a sophomore from New Ulm Cathedral, joined the New Ulm co-op wrestling team to train for football, but said he has quickly taken a liking to the sport. On Friday night, Berg got his first-ever varsity win by pinning Bobby Fleming in 2:47 in the heavyweight match of New Ulm’s 47-18 dual loss to Waconia.

Berg and Fleming, who are both junior varsity heavyweights, were put on the varsity roster before the dual meet.

“I talked to their coach ahead of time … neither one of us had a heavyweight, so we said let’s wrestle them on varisty and see what happens,” said New Ulm coach John Rieser.

Berg nearly had a takedown 30 seconds into the match, but was unable to secure positioning and instead allowed Fleming to counter for two.

“I think it was mostly a case of inexperience,” Berg said. “I naturally want to go with my hip and you don’t want to do that. I guess it just takes more time to get that down.”

Granger Lehman, who was the starting heavyweight before he injured his knee, had helped Berg improve his technique. Lehman’s coaching paid dividends on the mat as Berg adjusted his positioning during his second shot for a takedown later in the first period. Holding a 3-2 lead after one, Berg notched a reversal at the 1:38 mark before turning Fleming on his back for the fall. The crowd cheered loudly for one of the few bright spots for the Eagles (3-6, 1-0 South Central) on the night.

“Not many people wrestle from Cathedral, so we had a lot of people from our school here too,” Berg said. “I was really happy just to go out there and get energized and get the crowd energized. It meant a lot to have people from my school here too.”

Berg’s pin was the second bonus-point victory for the Eagles in their third-straight dual loss.

The first came in the 113-pound match, where eighth-grader Hunter Ranweiler fended off five attacks by Jaden Vanderhoff in the first period before securing him from the top position for the fall in the waning ticks of the second.

“He was riding tough and that’s what I expect them to do,” Rieser said of Ranweiler. “I want our kids to pin and that’s what he did.”

Jagger Hoffmann came out looking like he was going to score bonus points for the Eagles at 138 pounds against Josh Reich. Despite taking a 6-2 lead after the first period, Hoffmann gave up a takedown with 0:36 to go in the second after tying Reich 2-2 leading up to that point to see his lead at 8-6.

Despite having some trouble on the bottom, Hoffmann escaped with 0:38 remaining to come away with the 9-6 victory.

“It does look like [Hoffmann wore himself out], I was a little surprised myself,” Rieser said. “We’ll have to go back and talk to him a little bit and see if we need to adjust his conditioning.”

The Wildcats (7-4, 3-1 Wright County) tallied three-straight pins and a major decision from there, but came away with close victories at 182 and 195 pounds.

Senior Cole Wilfahrt gave up a reversal from the top position to Jeb Waligoski after two scoreless periods at 182 pounds. Despite receiving a point from a full-Nelson call on Waligoski, Wilfahrt was unable to score any more before falling 2-1.

At 195, junior Lorenzo Hernandez had almost ridden Dylan Gluck out in the second period while trailing 2-1 with a stalling warning already pinned on Gluck.

However, Hernandez gave up a reversal with 0:08 remaining in the period to fall behind 4-1 after two.

“I’m not the best wrestler, but I love scrambles because I know I’ll either win it or I’ll lose it,” Hernandez said. “But I’d rather take the chance of winning.”

Garnering for better position backfired for Hernandez, but he said it did not get him down despite falling 5-4 in the match.

“Honestly, it is very frustrating, but it just makes me better,” Hernandez said. “It makes me think about how much more I can make myself improve.”

New Ulm will return to the mat for its final home dual meet on Jan. 2, when it hosts Blue Earth Area in a South Central Conference showdown. The dual is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Waconia 47, New Ulm 18

106 – Sean Howk (N) dec. Garrett Vos, 4-1

113 – Hunter Ranweiler (N) pinned Jaden Vanderhoff, 3:53

120 – Justin Schultz (W) mdec. Ryan Wacker, 11-2

126 – Ben Garnatz (W) pinned Taylor Bode, 0:55

132 – Spencer Neu (W) dec. Austin Iles, 12-7

138 – Jagger Hoffmann (N) dec. Josh Reich, 9-6

145 – No. 5 Jacob Steinbauer (W) pinned Austin Brandes, 1:17

152 – No. 10 Owen Hemze (W) pinned Max Deslauriers, 1:49

160 – Nick Green (W) pinned Riley Shelgren, 2:28

170 – Isaac Kluver (W) mdec. Sam Hoppe, 9-1

182 – Jeb Waligoski (W) dec. Cole Wilfahrt, 2-1

195 – Dylan Gluck (W) dec. Lorenzo Hernandez, 5-4

220 – Zach Buffington (W) pinned Braxton Greenwaldt, 0:51

Hwt – Nate Berg (N) pinned Bobby Fleming, 2:47

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