Wrestling aims to build on success

by Brenda Erdahl
Annandale Advocate
The Annandale-Maple Lake Lightning wrestling team will return to the mat with strong senior leadership and a solid crew in the middle seven of 14 weight classes.
“That’s where we have the most experience,” Coach Jason Bartels said. 
The Lightning are coming off a successful season in which they compiled a 16-8 record and shared a three-way tie for the Wright County Conference championship with Dassel-Cokato and Watertown-Mayer. Their most important win was a 34-30 upset victory over solid conference rival D-C in the “Battle of the Bolt.” They also took second place at the Maple Grove Invitational, the Mora Invitational, Watertown Duals, A-ML Duals, and first place at the Mankato East Invitational.
Although they didn’t advance to state as a team, they sent five wrestlers on to individual competition, and three of them are back this year. They include sophomore Jordan Hanan, whose sixth-place finish at state was the highest for the Annandale-Maple Lake team, and seniors: Matt Fuller and Jesse Puncochar. 
Puncochar was also voted the team’s most valuable wrestler and made Wright County All-Conference. 
Top returning wrestlers with varsity experience are freshman Joe Mosley at 103 pounds; Hanan at 119 pounds; sophomore Nick Anderson at 125 pounds; Fuller at 130 pounds; senior Tyler Pipo at 135 pounds; senior Alex Couette at 140 pounds; sophomore Isaac Hendrickson at 140 pounds; freshman Brady Kalla at 145 pounds; sophomore Teddy Erickson at 152 pounds, Puncochar at 160 pounds; eighth-grader Cal Redemske at 171 pounds; junior Kevin Salveson at 171 pounds; junior Derek Rachel at 189 pounds; senior Steve Treptau at 215 pounds; and sophomore Thomas Condon at heavyweight. 
The Lightning lost only three wrestlers from last season, state entrants Pete Nordlie and Chris Salveson to graduation and Brian Redemske to a knee injury. 
“We will be fairly inexperienced at the lower and upper weight classes,” Bartels said. “If all goes as planned we should have some depth at quite a few weight classes.”
As a team, their goal is to win the conference and to qualify for state competition. 
Annandale-Maple Lake is right up there with Watertown-Mayer and Dassel-Cokato as the favorites to win the WCC, Bartels said, although several “dark horse” teams could challenge for the title as well. 
Favorites to win the section will be a stacked Foley team followed by New London-Spicer, Dassel-Cokato, Little Falls and Annandale-Maple Lake. 
The Lightning will kick off the season at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Monticello Invitational.
The wrestlers are coached by Bartels with assistant coaches: Aaron Hempel, Steve Fuchs, and Steve Kosloski. On the roster for the Lightning are seniors: Alex Couette, Matt Fuller, Zach Furbur, Tyler Pipo, Jesse Puncochar, Steven Treptau; juniors: Matt Clark, Tyler Mies, Derek Rachel, Brian Redemske, Kevin Salveson; sophomores: Nick Anderson, Thomas Condon, Teddy Erickson, Jordan Hanan, Isaac Hendrickson, Cruz Johnson, Logan Witter; freshmen: Bennett Erickson, Donovan Gilson, Brian Hastings, Brady Kalla, Joe Mosley; eighth graders: Jon Forness, Cullen Gallager, Hunter Hicks, Austin Kalla, Spencer Ogden, Cole Olson, Walker Rask, Cal Redemske, Chase Swenson; seventh graders: Gage Heaver, Bryce Hill, Zachary Johnson, Devin Lowers, Cory Schmidt, Tanner Vassar, and Holden Youngs. 
The Annandale-Maple Lake Lightning wrestling team will return to the mat with strong senior leadership and a solid crew in the middle seven of 14 weight classes.
“That’s where we have the most experience,” Coach Jason Bartels said. 
The Lightning are coming off a successful season in which they compiled a 16-8 record and shared a three-way tie for the Wright County Conference championship with Dassel-Cokato and Watertown-Mayer. Their most important win was a 34-30 upset victory over solid conference rival D-C in the “Battle of the Bolt.” They also took second place at the Maple Grove Invitational, the Mora Invitational, Watertown Duals, A-ML Duals, and first place at the Mankato East Invitational.
Although they didn’t advance to state as a team, they sent five wrestlers on to individual competition, and three of them are back this year. They include sophomore Jordan Hanan, whose sixth-place finish at state was the highest for the Annandale-Maple Lake team, and seniors: Matt Fuller and Jesse Puncochar. 
Puncochar was also voted the team’s most valuable wrestler and made Wright County All-Conference.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.
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