The Mound Westonka White Hawks wrestling team had five participants in the 2017 MSHSL state wrestling tournament.
Senior Neil Schmalz lead the way for the White Hawks, winning his first round match before losing two and being eliminated. None of the underclassmen were able to notch a win at state, but got valuable experience for the coming years.
“We had some tough draws going in and knew it would be difficult, but the kids wrestled hard and it’s quite an accomplishment to compete at this level,” Head Coach Todd Munsterteiger said.
Sophomore Ethan Devore and junior Bobby Sweet both lost first round matches and were eliminated when their opponents lost quarterfinal matches. Sophomores Ben Schmalz and Kris Kurtz also lost first round matches, but were kept alive in the wrestlebacks when their opponents advanced. Both Kurtz and Schmalz lost in consolation round as well ending their seasons.
“All of the underclassmen wrestled well, and only one of losses came from a non-place winner,” Assistant Coach Eric Rodelius said.
Senior Neil Schmalz was impressive in a first round win, defeating Tamir Beeler of Rosemount 10-3. In the quarterfinals he faced third-seeded Austin Brenner of St. Cloud Tech, and lost by fall in the first period. In the first round of consolation, Schmalz drew Tanner Wiese of Forest Lake. Wiese scored a first period takedown and added a second period escape for a 3-0 lead. Schmalz came right back with a take down to narrow the lead to 3-2. Wiese scored a reversal to make the score 5-2, and was able to ride out Schmalz in the third period for the win.
“Neil was disappointed to not get on the podium, but he had a great season and career,” Munsterteiger said. “He carried a heavy burden being an elite wrestler on a rebuilding team, but was able to lead them to the section finals. His hard work ethic and perseverance was a great example to the younger wrestlers, and I can’t say enough about what he meant to our program.”
The White Hawks will celebrate another successful season with their banquet on Tuesday, March 14 at 5 p.m. at Mound Westonka High School.